Minarets High School junior Aaron Hall, 16, was honored in Washington D.C. before a crowd of nearly 500 April 19 during the Operation Homefront’s Military Child of the Year award ceremony.
Senior leaders from each of the service branches presented the awards that are bestowed annually to seven extremely deserving young Americans who have turned the challenges of frequent relocations, and deployments of loved ones, into a passion for excellence, service and helping others.
Hall was representing the National Guard. It was announced in late February that he was selected the national winner. He was one of 95 semifinalists in the nation that would receive one of the seven awards. Other national winners represented the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.
The Operation Homefront Military Child of the Year, an award for innovation, was presented to a seventh award recipient.
Hall’s award was presented to him by General Hokenson.
“The awards ceremony was very formal and real exciting - I have never been to anything like it,” Hall said.
Before receiving his award, Hall was asked what advise he would give to other military children around the nation.
“I said that doors will open in front of you every day and you need to do the best you can to make the most of those opportunities,” Hall said.
Melissa Stockwell, two-time Paralympian and former U.S. Army officer, was the evening’s keynote speaker.
“She was very inspiring,” Hall said. “She talked about how it doesn’t matter what life throws at you, you can still make your life better from any obstacle before you.”
Hall’s family was in attendance at the dinner - parents Colonel David and Christina Hall, sister Adrienne, and his older brother Grant, a junior at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point).
“The night was very surreal, sort of unbelievable that we were there,” said Hall’s mother Christina. “The night was very moving, uplifting and inspiring.”
“We are very proud of 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.”
Adrienne, 12, is a seventh grader at Rivergold Elementary School, said the awards dinner was amazing.
“It took me a minute to realize that was my brother up on that big stage,” Adrienne said. “I’m so proud of by brother Aaron and was very happy to seer my other brother Grant that I had not seen since Christmas. The whole experience was amazing.”
The day before the awards banquet, the Hall family had the opportunity to meet with California District 4 Congressman Tom McClintock in his office on Capitol Hill, and like so many others, was impressed with Aaron.
“It was great meeting Congressman McClintock who spent about 20 minutes with us,” Hall said. “We talked a lot about the military in general, which he is a big supporter of.”
“Aaron Hall exemplifies the true spirit of the American military family,” McClintock said after the meeting. “Aaron is an outstanding student-athlete and community leader and he is very deserving of being named Military Child of the Year from Operation Homefront.”
Each award recipient received $10,000, a laptop computer and other donated gifts.
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.
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.