Military Child of the Year Finalists Announced

They must demonstrate resilience, strength of character and thrive despite the challenges of military life. They’re leaders in their communities and helpers in their homes.

That’s what the Operation Homefront judges were looking for when they selected 25 finalists for the 2011 Military Child of the Year. This is the first year that a winner will be selected from each branch of service – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. That announcement will be March 9. Each winner will receive $5,000 a trip to Washington D.C. for a ceremony.

Following are the finalists for the 2011 Military Child of the Year® Award:

Hadiyyah Abdul-Jalaal
11 years old, 6th grade
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington D.C.

Stephanie Ramer
15 years old, 10th grade
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Ariz.

Karla Rogers
16 years old, 11th grade
Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho

Tasha Duong
14 years old, 9th grade
Callaway, Fla.

Nicole Goetz
17 years old, 12th grade
Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, Fla.

Kyle Hoeye
16 years old, 11th grade
Tucson, Ariz.

Spencer Acuna
11 years old, fifth grade
Portland, Ore.

Lily Moser
9 years old, 4th grade
Tigard, Ore.

Shannon K. Nolan
14 years old, 9th grade
Ft. Riley, Kan.

Aturina Halverson
18 years old, 12th grade
Fort Campbell, Ky.

Emily Lloyd
18 years old, college freshman
Grove City, Pa.

Andrea Porrata
11 years old, 7th grade
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Mary Kate Cooper
11 years old, 5th grade
Waldorf, Md.

Kaila Elliott
18 years old, 12th grade
Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Margaret Rochon
17 years old, 12th grade
Jacksonville, N.C.

Isaiah Navarro
15 years old, 10th grade
Orange, Calif.

Taylor Dahl-Sims
17 years old, 12th grade
Oceanside, Calif.

Megan Tanner
12 years old, 6th grade
Saint Marys, Ga.

James Bushway V
16 years old, 10th grade
Camp Lejuene, N.C.

Alexis Weidley
15 years old, 10th grade
Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Sean and Ryan Heady (twin brothers)
15 years old, 10th grade
Green Cove Springs, Fla.

Tyler Dodge
17 years old, 11th grade
Oak Harbor, Wash.

Derringer Kuriatnyk
17 years old, 12th grade
Ellerslie, Ga.

Melissa Howland
17 years old, 12th grade
Millis, Mass.

March 4th: Letters and Extended Deadlines

A Florida National Guard family celebrates coming home in December after close to a year's deployment in southwestern Asia.

Today is the day for the March 4th Letter  writing campaign to encourage Time Magazine editors to name Military Families as the “2011 Person of the Year.”

There’s a form letter here or you can use your own words. Mail  your letter to: TIME Magazine Letters / Time & Life Building / Rockefeller Center / New York, NY 10020.

My appreciation to  for highlighting this campaign and for providing the following links.

Military Family – Time’s Next Person of the Year? – explains how the military family fit’s TIME’s Person of the Year criteria.

I Have a Confession – explains why the movement and the upcoming letter-writing campaign are important.

Deadline Extended for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay Applications

Eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries have two more weeks to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay. It’s estimated 145,000 are eligible.

Congress created the Special Pay, $500 a month for service under Stop Loss Authority, for “involuntary extended service” between Sept. 11, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2009.

This is the most recent of several extended application deadlines. The Department of Defense Public Affairs Office includes submission requirements and service-specific links at

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