Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that builds strong, stable, and secure military families, is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Military Child of the Year (MCOY) Awards, as well as applications for the 2020 MCOY Award for Innovation. Nominations are open through Dec. 9, and all awards will be presented at a recognition gala April 2, 2020, in the nation’s capital.

The annual awards recognize seven outstanding young people ages 13 to 18 who are legal dependents of a service member or military retiree. Six MCOY recipients will represent a respective branch of the U.S. military. The seventh award is the MCOY Award for Innovation which goes to a military child who has designed a solution to address a local, regional or global challenge. Last year’s recipient, Brandon Mammano, started a student-sponsor program that introduced incoming students to the area and community.

“Our MCOY nominees are exceptional young people who have made and are continuing to make a real difference in their schools and communities,” said John I. Pray Jr., president and CEO of Operation Homefront. “While each has unique interests and goals, they share a passion to volunteer, to give back to society and to make life better for others. I encourage those who may know an extraordinary military child to nominate him or her for this national level recognition of service.”

To nominate a child for the award, visit www.militarychildoftheyear.org and click the Nominations tab. Nomination fields include when and how long a parent has deployed, number of family moves, Gold Star Family or Exceptional Family Member Program status, whether a parent is a wounded service member, nominee’s volunteerism, and five short answers as to why the nominee is deserving. Anyone can nominate a child. Family members, teachers, coaches, counselors, clergy, neighbors and friends are encouraged to nominate outstanding military children.

All seven MCOY Award recipients will be flown with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C., for the gala. Recipients also receive $10,000 each and a laptop computer. The recipient of the MCOY Award for Innovation will also receive donated business expertise in bringing their creative solution to market.

Last year’s recipients lived through a combined 187 months of deployments and logged almost 1,800 volunteer hours in the year before their nominations. Four of 2019’s seven recipients were past MCOY semifinalists and finalists, two were Eagle Scouts, five were National Honor Society Members and three were competitive swimmers.

Being honored as a Military Child of the Year is absolutely surreal but overall this is a recognition for my parents. Being a military child was not to my detriment, and quite literally made me the person that I am today. I’m so honored that my story has inspired and will get to inspire so many different people,” said 2019 Navy MCOY Elisabeth Lundgren.

Last year’s Marine Corps MCOY was Jaxson Jordan, a Brewster Middle School student, who raised money to support local kids in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. His brother, Michael-Logan, received the award in 2014.