Army, Air Force Families Share ‘Family of Year’ Honors
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., July 21, 2011 Families from the Army and the Air Force shared the honors today as the National Military Family Association’s 2011 Family of the Year for their service to the nation and their communities.
During its 2011 leadership luncheon here, the association honored a family from each service before announcing the Broesches, an Army National Guard family from Hayden, Idaho, and the Arnolds, an Air Force family from Dyess Air Force Base, Abilene, Texas, had tied for top honors.
Army Spc. Jerry Broesch has deployed twice, returning from his most recent deployment as a wounded warrior. He and his wife, Kim, and their daughters, Taylor and Isabella, work with the Army National Guard Military Youth Program and the Army’s Operation: Military Kids to help other families.
“As we do not live on a base, we are on our own more than those who have the close military family on base to lean on. Our family has become very close due to [Jerry’s] time in service,” Kim Broesch said.
Maj. Eric Arnold and his wife, Christie, volunteer at their base thrift shop, in athletic programs and other base service projects. Their children -- Connor, Cierra and Christian -- mow lawns and babysit for spouses of deployed service members, and the family volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, March of Dimes, and Scouting activities.
The Arnolds have moved nine times in the past 19 years, and said they have embraced each relocation with a sense of adventure and an opportunity for personal growth.
Michèle Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, said the families honored today and those serving around the world share some common traits.
“The central qualities of our service members and their families are their extraordinary dedication, their resilience, their courage and their optimism in the face of challenge,” she said.
Flournoy said President Barack Obama’s administration and the Defense Department have made unprecedented commitments to the well-being of military members and their families.
“We are the first to admit that we have a long way to go, much more to do,” she said. “But these commitments to you and your loved ones are real, and they are lasting, and they reflect the priorities of people at the very highest levels of the department and the government.”
The ceremony also honored five other families contending for the association’s Family of the Year title. Each represented a uniformed service branch -- the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration –- and had earlier been named their service’s Family of the Year.
The honorees include:
-- Navy Family of the Year: the Hatzung family from Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif.;
-- Marine Corps Family of the Year: the Rucker family from Dallas, Georgia;
-- Coast Guard Family of the Year: the Henley family from Sitka, Alaska;
-- USPHS Family of the Year: the Thompson family from Eagle River, Alaska; and
-- and the NOAA Family of the Year: the Beaucage family from Ford Island, Kailua, Hawaii.
Top leaders from each branch presented the families with their service-level Family of the Year award during the ceremony.
The National Military Family Association is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening and protecting the families of men and women currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen.