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Operation Homefront recognizes AF Military Child of the Year

Madeleine Morlino, 17, left, receives the 2016 Air Force Military Child of the Year award during a gala in Pentagon City, Va., April 14, 2016, from Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, center, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. The annual event celebrates military children who demonstrate leadership, resilience and strength of character, as well as an ability to thrive when dealing with the challenges inherent in military family life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Madeleine Morlino, 17, left, receives the 2016 Air Force Military Child of the Year award during a gala in Pentagon City, Va., April 14, 2016, from Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, center, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. The annual event celebrates military children who demonstrate leadership, resilience and strength of character, as well as an ability to thrive when dealing with the challenges inherent in military family life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein speaks at the Military Child of the Year Award gala in Pentagon City, Va., April 14, 2016. The annual event celebrates military children who demonstrate leadership, resilience and strength of character, as well as an ability to thrive when dealing with the challenges inherent in military family life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein speaks at the Military Child of the Year Award gala in Pentagon City, Va., April 14, 2016. The annual event celebrates military children who demonstrate leadership, resilience and strength of character, as well as an ability to thrive when dealing with the challenges inherent in military family life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein presented the Operation Homefront 2016 Air Force Military Child of the Year award to Madeleine Morlino, 17, during a ceremony April 14, in Pentagon City, Virginia.

Madeleine, of Moorestown, New Jersey, is the daughter of retired Master Sgt. Leonard and Kerry Morlino. She was selected as the Air Force military child recipient along with five other children from each of the services including the National Guard. 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.

Operation Homefront received more than 500 nominations for this year’s competition.

“As we celebrate our honorees tonight, we do so knowing that there are many, many more military kids making good things happen in their homes and in their communities,” said retired Brig. Gen. John I. Pray Jr., the president and CEO of Operation Homefront. “Tonight’s honorees follow 28 other military child of the year award winners since 2009, each one a shining example of promise and hope.”

Madeleine said she was motivated by the challenges her family faced as her father transitioned from military to civilian life and wanted to ease the transition for other service members. She conceived, organized and led a job expo for veterans in her hometown and successfully attracted national and local businesses poised to offer veterans meaningful employment.

Before presenting Madeline with her trophy, Goldfein shared why she was receiving this award.

Madeleine maintains a 4.23 GPA while participating in cheer, cross-country and track. Her love of music has earned her the title of concertmaster for both the New Jersey Youth Symphony and the Settlement Orchestra, for which she plays the violin, he said. In Madeleine’s spare time, she works three jobs -- as an intern at a nonprofit organization, a server in a bistro, and an instructor at a learning institute.

Goldfein, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, said nothing could please him more than to recognize Madeline’s choice of college.

“She currently has a full-ride ROTC scholarship to Princeton, and William and Mary … full rides from the Army, the Air Force and the Navy ROTC and she currently has an appointment to … four service academies,” Goldfein said. “But, she has made her decision … I’m going to shed a tear here … she’s going to the United States Air Force Academy.”

Operation Homefront hosts the gala each April to honor the award recipients as part of Month of the Military Child.

“I’m truly honored and humbled to receive the award,” Morlino said. “A big ‘thank you’ goes out to my parents over there as well as to the military for welcoming me into their family and your family.”

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