March 14, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 47

Newberry wins Military Child of the Year award

Members of the military make great sacrifices throughout their time in the service. Although they aren’t enlisted members, the families make just as many sacrifices along the way.

James Eik
Moving to Medical Lake in his senior year, Mark Newberry is the son of Col. Brian and Jill Newberry. Col. Newberry is the Commander of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base.

Last week, Medical Lake High School’s Mark Newberry received the honor of being named Operation Homefront’s 2013 Military Child of the Year for the Air Force.

Newberry was selected from over 1,000 applicants nationwide for the award. He learned of his placement in the top 20 just a few weeks ago.

“Just being in the top 20, that was exciting enough,” Newberry said of when he first learned the news.

As part of the nomination, students must submit two letters of recommendation, their resume, grades and community service efforts. Newberry submitted his nomination to the organization in December last year.

Hearing that he won the award, however, was met with shock and surprise.

“Well first I was kind of speechless,” he said. “I didn’t expect this to happen. Then, I was really happy. I thought about going to D.C., since I used to live there.”

Over the last 17 years, Newberry and his family have moved 10 times.

Newberry joins four other children, nominated in the other four branches of the military: Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy. According to the organization’s website, the average nominee has moved at least five times, maintains above average grades, is involved in extracurricular activities and has leadership roles in community groups.

The average nominee has also seen at least one parent deploy for 18 months or more, and volunteers with service groups an average of 75 hours each year.

Being selected for the award, Newberry will receive a $5,000 scholarship, and will travel to Washington, D.C. in April for a special recognition gala. According to the organization’s website, an invitation to present the keynote address has been extended to Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Newberry is one of two sons to Col. Brian Newberry and his wife Jill. Col. Newberry is the commander of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, moving to the Northwest last year. Prior to that, the family lived in Washington, D.C. During the visit, he hopes to visit with some friends from his old school.

Speaking to his plans after high school, Newberry said he is looking toward the medical profession. In particular, he hopes to pursue becoming a doctor, following the premed path in college. He’s still waiting to hear back from a few colleges to which he applied, although he said some have already sent acceptance letters.

Moving to Medical Lake after four years in the same school was tough. But, adjusting to life here in his senior year was quite easy, due to a good community.

“Medical Lake has been great. They’ve been really welcoming, and it’s been easy to insert myself here and fit in,” he said. “It’s been a great community.”

Being an active student at Medical Lake High School, Newberry is involved with the cross country and track teams. He is also actively involved in the Boy Scouts outside of school, helps with service projects and plays sports as well. A senior in high school, much of his time is spent filling out scholarship applications.

Newberry said his father was proud to see him win the award.

“He was really proud I was able to be honored for my sacrifices that I’ve had to make for moving all the time,” he said. “It brought the whole transition to a full circle. Moving was tough, but as a family, we’ve really come together and it was honoring that. It was really nice.”

Newberry maintains a very humble demeanor regarding the award, knowing firsthand how important it is.

“It’s just an honor to be recognized for this,” he said. “It’s definitely an exciting time.”

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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