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Campbell Miller Selected as Military Child of the Year at National Guard Level

  • Published
  • By Story by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Harwood
  • 179th Airlift Wing

MANSFIELD, Ohio- 179th Airlift Wing commander, Col. Allison C. Miller, is a proud, single mother of three children. Her oldest son, Campbell Miller, has given her yet another reason to feel that way. Campbell, a 17-year-old senior at Mansfield Christian High School, was recently selected as the winner of Operation Homefront’s Military Child of the Year® for the National Guard.

“When I first found out, I was speechless,” said Campbell. “I could not believe that I had been chosen out of all the other talented, worthy and I am sure, incredible applicants. It is such an honor and quite humbling to know that my story matters. All that we, as a family, have endured actually means something to someone. We know we are serving for something larger than our family, but to feel appreciated for the sacrifices is a feeling I cannot describe.”

As the son of the 179th Airlift Wing commander, his family is no stranger to the sacrifices the life of a military family brings. However, his mother knows the importance of family, and strives to ensure her family at home, and the families of those she works with, are taken care of.

"The importance of the military family cannot be understated, when one person serves, the whole family serves, sacrifices and puts our country before their personal wants," said Col. Miller.

Operation Homefront recognizes the importance of military families, and works hard to take care of and give back to the families who have sacrificed so much for the greater good.

Operation Homefront is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so that they can thrive, not simply struggle to get by, in the communities they have worked so hard to protect, supporting tens of thousands of military families each year. Operation Homefront provides critical financial assistance, transitional and permanent housing and family support services to prevent short-term needs from turning into chronic, long-term struggles. Thanks to the generosity of donors and the support from thousands of volunteers, Operation Homefront proudly serves America’s military families, one way they do this is through the Military Child of the Year award. 

The annual awards recognize seven outstanding young individuals ages 13 to 18. Six of them represent a branch of the armed forces — the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard — for their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement and other criteria while facing the challenges of military family life. The seventh award is the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation presented by Booz Allen Hamilton. This award goes to a military child who has designed a bold and creative solution to address a local, regional or global challenge.

All seven Military Child of the Year® Award recipients will be flown with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C., to be recognized at the April 2019 gala, during which senior leaders of each branch of service will present the awards. They also will receive $10,000 each, a laptop computer, and other donated gifts.  In addition, the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation recipient will work with a team of Booz Allen employees to develop a plan to scale the project, drawing on technology and strategic thinking.

The life of a military child is all Campbell and his siblings have ever known, he said that when his mother and he added everything up, she had been away on military orders for over six years of his childhood.

Campbell reflected on being a young child, impacted by the ways of military life.

“I was three or four years old the first time I made a banner for my mom, or a “chain” counting down the days until she returned home from being deployed,” said Campbell. “Her first deployment was when I was just 18 months old, my sister was less than six months old. She has deployed regularly since then from 2002-2015.”

Growing up seeing the sacrifices and selfless service his mother displayed, Campbell desires to be a light to all he comes in contact with, and proved to be a perfect fit for the recipient of this award through his service to not only his family and community, but worldwide as well.

Following in his mother’s footsteps and embracing the values instilled by her, Campbell knows the importance of serving others, and proved to be a perfect fit for the recipient of this award through making it a priority to serve his community, country, and those even beyond the United States, even if he has to find other avenues of service outside of the military.

At the young age of three, Campbell was diagnosed with a blood disorder that would prevent him from representing the third generation of his family to serve in the military. Campbell was persistent in finding alternate routes to serving, and has been successful in that mission.

Campbell has been compelled to serve others locally at his church and in the community, as evidenced by his hundreds of service hours and ceaseless efforts, as well as worldwide through mission trips to Ireland, Guatemala, and Uganda, for which he raised more than 90% of the required funds himself.

  His persistence showed through once again when he obtained the title of Eagle Scout, something that less than 7% of all Boy Scouts have achieved. As Campbell began work on his Eagle Scout Service Project, his mother’s military service required his family to move from Maryland to Ohio. Wanting to leave a lasting impact on his school in Maryland, Campbell made multiple road trips, phone calls and emails to successfully complete his project, reinforcing the ideals of service, leadership, commitment and communication.   Campbell has long been recognized for his outstanding leadership, service and maturity. He was chosen to be a Troop Senior Patrol Leader, student ambassador (at both schools in Maryland and Ohio), captain and starting player on his varsity baseball and cross-country teams, all while earning membership in the National Honor Society and taking dual college credit courses as a junior and senior.
Campbell ensures he maintains a balance between serving his community, while serving and supporting his family at home, too. Supporting his military mom who raises three kids alone, balances service to her community, state and country and dedication to her family. Campbell has helped with his siblings during his mom’s frequent deployments, escorted his mom to military functions, and handled routine home and lawn maintenance. He’s also cared for his sister when she fell severely ill while their mother was four states away in military training, and helped his family successfully navigate the negative effects of extreme bullying prevalent in today’s society.

Campbell is working relentlessly toward his goal of becoming an architect and attending Auburn University, and plans on using the awards received through the program to further set him up for success.

“I just want thank Operation Homefront for giving me this opportunity,” Campbell added, “and for everything the organization does for military families.”