Christian, who is the 9-years-old and son of Diana Fagala and
Marine Capt. Justin Fagala, was the Marine Corps recipient of the
award during the 2016 Military Child of the Year Award ceremony on
April 14, 2016 at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arlington.
April 14, 2016 - Christian Fagala receives the Military Child of the
Year Award during the 2016 Military Child of the Year Award Ceremony
at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. According to
Operation Homefront the award recognizes military children who have
demonstrated themselves as exceptional citizens while facing the
challenges of military family life. Christian, 9, is the Marine
Corps recipient of the award. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Terence Brady)
“I am receiving an award for being the Military Child of
the Year for the Marine Corps for all the things I have done
[like] helping the homeless and cancer walks to donate for
research,” said Christian.
Christian faced many
challenges at a young age, the biggest one was being
diagnosed with cancer at the age of two. This also affected
other aspects of his life such as learning because of the
effects of chemotherapy.
These challenges did not
deter Christian, as he faced them head on and made it his
mission to make a difference for those who are dealing with
Some of Fagala's accomplishments
in his mission include speaking on behalf of childhood
cancer programs and raising more than $20,000 for St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital and CureSearch through walks
and other charity events.
“When I was 4 I saw a sign
on the wall that said “Cancer Walks” and I wanted to go and
I've been doing it ever since,” said Christian. “That's how
I got my personality for helping people.”
to contributions to the cancer efforts, Christian has
dedicated more than 100 hours to the homeless outreach.
For these and other selfless acts, Christian joined five
other children to represent the U.S. military services to be
the recipients of the Military Child of the Year Award from
“I feel honored and excited
because there are many other children who have done great
and I was chosen out of 500 others,” said Christian.
Operation Homefront was established in 2002 to aid military
families in anyway they could so they have a strong and
stable lifestyle. The Military Child of the Year Award is
one of the many ways that Operation Homefront helps and
honors military families.
“I grew up in a military
family and I know what they do to help their loved ones
serve,” said John I. Pray, Jr., the CEO of Operation Homefront. “My family did a marvelous job of helping me
serve this great nation. Our families serve along side us
wherever we go and we make sure there is an organization
that focuses on them.
The recipients of the award had
the opportunity to tour places such as the National Museum
of American History before attending the award ceremony.
Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., the 19th Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior military
representatives also attended the ceremony to present and
congratulate the children.
“They don't help families
get through the sacrifices or deal with the challenges of
military lifestyles, they help families thrive in that
environment,” said Dunford. “When we see this evening's
award recipients we won't see people who have survived the
military lifestyle, we'll see people who have challenges in
their own lives that actually go far beyond the challenges
they are confronted in a military lifestyle and we're going
to see young people that have thrived. You can't put a price
tag on what that means to us.”
Christian is setting
his sights on raising $30,000 to cancer research and aspires
to follow in his father's footsteps by becoming a Marine in
the future to give back to the community that helped him in
his time of need.
“When you start thinking about
Christian, he is a perfect representative,” said Pray.
“Marines are expeditionary and he has that expeditionary
spirit, and he is a true Marine at heart. His parents have a
marvelous impact on him and guided his life and he reflects
all those values that we hold dear in this nation.”
By U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Terence Brady
The U.S. Marines
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