By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Since 2001, the Military Times, an independent media group which serves all of the branches has had a contest to select a service member from each branch to honor. It has been my pleasure to nominate several soldiers with whom I served in Iraq, and I am inviting anyone who has a hero to join me in nominating that person or persons for this year’s contest. It is allowed by the Military Times to nominate more than one, and nominees can be from more than one branch. Below are some of the requirements, per the Military Times organization
Nominees must be U.S. residents (excluding Puerto Rico) who are 18 years or older, active U.S. military, a member of one of the military reserves, in the National Guard, or a veteran.
To be considered for this award the advisory board committee is looking for Nominees with exceptional service or achievements, including one or more of the following criteria:
- Service members whose recent personal experience and achievements embody the spirit of professional excellence, personal sacrifice and resilience that make the military great.
- Service members whose recent actions in their military career have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
- Service members whose recent personal experience highlights the changing needs and institutional agility that are essential to modern military readiness.
- Service members with significant off-duty community service work that highlights the non-institutional aspects of commitment to public service.
In 2018 a new award had been added to recognize former service members for their outstanding accomplishments out of uniform. The Veteran of the Year Award recognizes and honors an exceptional veteran who, through his character, spirit, and exceptional public service sets an example, and makes an extraordinary difference in their community, for their comrade veterans, and for awareness of essential military and veteran issues.
Fair warning: the kinds of questions asked you as someone who is doing the nominating are designed to get you to think, and your willingness to treat this process as an essay in school will greatly enhance your appreciation for your hero. In essence, you will be selling yourself on this person in a whole new way. The deadline is February 28, and the easiest way to nominate a person or persons for this honor is online. The web address to nominate is www.servicemembersoftheyear.org/nominate
The prizes include an honorary black-tie gala event to be held in Washington DC, online recognition, a video about the winner, and if they are active duty, they are allowed to use the honor as part of their career-enhancing portfolio.
It has been shown that expressing gratitude and honor is good for one’s health, and for anyone who has experienced the impact made by our extraordinary service members, this exercise is pure joy. I invite you to join me. Your hero just might be chosen, and who knows what that might do for you both.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner