WASHINGTON — Eighteen-year-old Jamal Braxton has a busy schedule. The high school senior holds various leadership positions with the Red Cross, participates in multiple varsity sport programs and is a lifeguard. He accomplishes all this as a military child and the challenges inherent in military family life.
Because of his accomplishments, Braxton was presented the Operation Homefront 2017 Air Force Military Child of the Year award by Air Force Assistant Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Stayce Harris April 6, 2017, in Washington D.C.
Operation Homefront hosts the gala each April to honor an award recipient from each branch of the military, including the National Guard, as part of Month of the Military Child. The award honors resiliency, strength of character in the face of the challenges associated with military life, and selfless service to others within their families and communities.
“Being a military child means adapting and being flexible and being tested about what you think you can and cannot do on a recurring basis,” Harris said during the gala. “Military kids and families truly are a treasured gift our nation gets and they can never get enough gratitude or recognition … Jamal is an exemplary example of an Air Force military child.”
Braxton excelled in leadership by overseeing monthly veteran house visits, youth and leadership group meetings, numerous armed forces activities, the recruitment of future Red Cross Youth Services leaders, and several fundraisers, including the International Measles and Rubella Initiative fundraiser.
In addition to volunteering, he participates in varsity swimming, cross country and outdoor track and field, while maintaining a 3.98 GPA. The epitome of resiliency, he maintains these activities while mourning the loss of two school-aged friends.
During the gala, Harris excitedly announced that Braxton was accepted to the U.S. Air Force Academy and hopes he will soon become an Airman.
“I call his volunteer efforts servant leadership and it was what we aspire to exhibit in our core values of the Air Force,” she said. “I would be proud to call you my wingman one day. Thank you for your service to our community and future service to our nation.”
Braxton of Layton, Utah, is the son of retired Master Sgt. Lawrence Braxton and Ahllam Braxton.
“It’s great realizing that (my dad) and many other military members are out there serving our country and doing to the best of their ability providing us, youth and kids, the best opportunities we can have for our future,” Jamal said.