By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Mikelle D. Smith, Defense Media Activity - Navy
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Family and friends gathered at the Naval Heritage Center for Our Military Kids' Celebration of Star Power awards ceremony held in Washington D.C, April 19.
Five youths of military service members and one military family were recognized at the ceremony for their outstanding accomplishments made possible in part of receiving grant money from Our Military Kids' grant program.
"We are honored to recognize out littlest warriors heroism, courage and continued resilience," said Linda Davidson, co-founder and executive director for Our Military Kids'. "The children were selected for their service to their families and communities during the deployment of their military parent, and their willingness to share their talents."
Our Military Kids grant program is a public/private partnership that supports the children of service members in the National Guard, all reserve branches of the military, wounded warriors and fallen heroes.
"The grant has really been a blessing because without it we wouldn't have been able to afford the tae-kwon-do lessons," said Ann Karnbach, award recipient of the military family of the year award. "I was really thankful to have something to keep the kids occupied while my husband was away on his second deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."
As a surprise to the military family of the year, Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Karnbach, father of two award recipients and husband to Ann, returned early to attend the ceremony and be reunited with his family.
"This charity has been remarkably successful," said the honorable G. Kim Wincup, chairman of the board of directors for Our Military Kids'. "Eighty percent of children experience increased anxiety and stress from having a parent deployed. As a result of adding additional activities to their daily routines while that parent is absent, 95 percent of those children do better because of the support."
Last year Our Military Kids' grant program distributed $3.7 million and 9,000 grants to military children.
"I'm so thankful to Our Military Kids for giving all of us grants," said Jonathan Harrell, Star Power award recipient. "I think that is it really cool to be here, and just to be one of the military kids that got a grant."
Our Military Kids was founded in 2004 to support children ages three to 18 of National Guard and Reserve families during a deployment. The organization provides $500 grants for extracurricular activities while a parent is serving overseas. Additionally, the program is available to children of Wounded Warriors in all branches of the military. Our Military Kids is funded by corporations, private donors, and government grants.