Aaron Hall of Coarsegold, has been named one of seven national winners in the prestigious 2018 Military Child of the Year competition sponsored by Operation Homefront.
Hall, a 16 year old junior at Minarets High School, represented the National Guard, while other winners were announced who represented the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. A seventh student received the Innovation Award for designing a creative solution to a challenge.
This year’s awards mark the 10th anniversary of this special program that highlights the positive impact that young people have made on their military families, their schools, and their communities.
The award recipients will travel to Washington, D.C. to be recognized at the April 19 Military Child of the Year Gala, during which senior leaders of each branch of service will present the awards before other senior military leaders, national elected officials and celebrities.
Each student will also receive $10,000, a laptop computer and other donated gifts.
It was in early February that Hall, the son of Colonel David and Christina Hall of Yosemite Lakes Park, learned he was one of 95 semifinalists in the nation that would receive one of the seven awards.
It was Monday that Hall received a call from his dad, who was working out of state at the time, telling him to go look at the Operation Homefront web page.
“When the page opened-up I saw my face and the other winners with the story announcing the Military Child of the Year winners,” Hall said. “I was really excited but couldn’t believe it - I really could not comprehend it at the time - It took a while for it to sink in. I am so grateful for winning this honor and thankful to all the people that have helped me get to the point I am in my life, including family, friends and teachers.”
Hall’s parents will accompany him to the awards gala in April.
“We are very proud of his Aaron’s accomplishments,” Colonel Hall said. “It really has taken a community of people to help support and raise him. For that we feel very blessed.”
A special week
It was a special week for Hall, who after receiving the award news on Monday, threw a complete game, one-hitter in the Minarets 8-3 win over Yosemite High on Wednesday. The lefty has been on the varsity team since his freshman year, having been selected to the West Sequoia All League team twice, and has played for a couple elite travel teams in the Valley.
“If the opportunities are there for me, I hope to play baseball as long as I possibly can including college and beyond,” Hall said.
Hall was also two-way starter on the Mustang football team, earning All League honors as the leading tackler on the team as a sophomore, and was the varsity cross country team MVP this past season.
In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Hall is No. 1 in his class academically and is a member of numerous clubs and organizations at Minarets having served as vice president/treasurer of the associated student body, and is active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society, Key Club, the California Scholarship Federation and Future Farmers of America.
Between his freshman and sophomore year, Hall raised $7,400 in support of a Veteran’s Appreciation Baseball game at Minarets, with $4,500 donated to Doc’s Dogs for Vets. The organization, founded by a Gold Star family whose National Guard son died in Afghanistan, raises funds to fight PTS through service dogs.
Hall is currently considering attending West Point or the University of California Santa Clara after graduating next year from Minarets, and possibly going into engineering, business management or law.
Hall has an older brother, Grant, 20, a junior at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point), and a younger sister, Adrienne, 12, a seventh-grader at Rivergold Elementary School.
In addition to Hall, the other Military Child of the Year recipients are:
☆ Army: Rebekah Paxton, 17, Harrisonville, Missouri, home school
☆ Navy: Isabelle Richards, 13, Jamul, California, High Tech Middle School
☆ Marine Corps: Joshua Frawley, 14, Jacksonville, North Carolina, White Oak High School
☆ Air Force: Eve Glenn, 16, Tampa, Florida, T. R. Robinson High School
☆ Coast Guard: Roark Corson, 17, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Ocean Lakes High School
About Operation Homefront: Founded in 2002, 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. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity oversight groups, 92% of Operation Homefront expenditures go directly to programs that support tens of thousands of military families each year. Details: OperationHomefront.org.