SPOKANE, Wash. – Each military branch selects just one child in the entire country to receive Operation Homefront’s “Military Child of the Year” honor and this year the U.S. Air Force selected a student who lives on Spokane’s Fairchild Air Force Base.
Mark Newberry’s father’s job with the Air Force has taken him to 10 different cities in his 18 years of live. Today, his father, Brian Newberry, is the Wing Commander at Fairchild Air Force Base.
“Last year I was deployed for a year and he picked up and carried a big load for the family back home in Virginia,” Brian Newberry said. “And he had to move his senior year and it meant a lot to me.”
Mark Newberry had an impressive resume highlighting his community service and extra-curricular activities. His principal and assistant principal wrote letters of recommendation and Newberry aced a phone interview to ultimately earn the award. He also thinks Operation Homefront considered his ability to handle multiple moves – especially one before his senior year of high school.
“You kind of learn to adapt,” Newberry said. “I’ve seen so many cultures across the nation and met so many people that’ve helped me become the person that I am today.”
Newberry’s mother, Jill Newberry, a Registered Nurse, is proud of both of her sons. Mark’s younger brother was actually nominated for the same award through school. She said Mark Newberry had the option to stay back with friends in Virginia to finish his high school career, but moved to Fairchild to keep the family together.
“It makes me very proud of the decisions he’s made,” she said. “And that maturity is behind all of those decisions.”
Mark Newberry and the four other Operation Homefront’s “Military Child of the Year” honorees will receive their awards in Washington, D.C. tonight. Newberry will also receive $5,000 which he plans to spend on college tuition at either the University of Texas or The University of Michigan.