The American Red Cross and the Colorado National Guard honored nine children on Wednesday, June 12, at a ceremony for essay contest winners who shared their experiences as a military child.
“I really enjoy being a military child. It makes me feel proud that my mother is protecting our country. I feel safe because my mother helps protect our country’s freedom,” said Azaria, a 9-year-old whose mother is in the Air Force. “Being a military child is awesome!”
When members of the armed forces deploy to serve their country, their family members – and especially children – also make sacrifices. In recognition of these sacrifices, the American Red Cross, Colorado National Guard and Colorado Operation: Military Kids (OMK) joined forces in April to draw attention to the estimated 35,000 school-age kids who are part of military families in Colorado. The essay contest launched on April 1; other activities included a “Purple Up! For Military Kids” day on Friday, April 12, when Coloradans were encouraged to don purple in support of military children.
As part of the “Month of the Military Child,” the American Red Cross and the Colorado National Guard Youth Program co-sponsored a statewide essay contest open to kindergarten through 12th grade students in Colorado. Winners were selected in May and were chosen to be honored at the ceremony.
The ceremony took place at Fort Carson, in which the children shared their winning essays before receiving $25 gift cards on behalf of the Red Cross, as well a Nintendo Wii to the two grand prize winners.
“I am proud to be a military kid because Daddy protects us. He is gone a lot, but he comes homes with cool stories and fun stuff. My daddy is a soldier and I love him,” said Xander, age seven.
“One of the great things about being a military child is that I am proud of my mom and dad because they serve America… I love being a military child but it can be hard,” said 10-year-old Ethan, whose mom is stationed in Colorado Springs.
The Red Cross supports military families and members of the military as part of its Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program. Although best known for its disaster response, the Red Cross in fact has a long history of serving members of the armed forces through every war of the 20th century and continuing today. Red Cross SAF programs include pre- and post-deployment briefings for members of the military; emergency communications between deployed military and their families back home; support for military families while their loved ones are deployed; and assistance at veterans and military hospitals.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit Redcross.org/Colorado follow us on twitter (@redcrossdenver) or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org