For Immediate Release

Contact: Bailey Bernius

Military Families Take Center Stage

July 28, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, VA July 28, 2011— For the first time in the history of the National Military Family Association’s Family Award Program, families from two Services tied for top honor as Family of the Year. The Broesch family, an Army National Guard family from Hayden, Idaho, and the Arnold family, an Air Force family from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, shared the honors at the Association’s 2011 Leadership Luncheon held July 21.

Joining them on stage were the winning families from each of the other Services, who distinguished themselves in their own communities:

Navy Family of the Year—The Hatzung Family, Point Mugu, CA
Marine Corps Family of the Year—The Rucker Family, Dallas, GA
Coast Guard Family of the Year—The Henley Family, Sitka, AK
NOAA Family of the Year—The Beaucage Family, Kailua, HI
USPHS Family of the Year—The Thompson Family, Eagle River, AK

These families were selected because they lead in ways that extend far beyond the requirements of their military job. The National Military Family Association’s Family of the Year Award recognizes strong military families who embrace their service to the Nation and are role models in their community.

Among other things, the families raised money for scholarships, worked to protect the ecology of their community, opened their home to foster children, volunteered in schools, supported the spouses of deployed service members, served as mentors and friends to someone in need, and encouraged healthy living in both kids and adults. Above all, they demonstrated a central belief of the National Military Family Association—”Together we’re stronger.”

Support for these families, and military families around the globe, was lauded by top-ranked leaders from the civilian and military communities. Guest speaker, Michèle Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, remarked that she stands by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' belief that families, "are the power behind the power." Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, Generals Martin Dempsey (Army), Norton Schwartz (Air Force), and Craig McKinley (National Guard Bureau), Admiral Jonathan Greenert (Navy), Vice Admiral Sally Brice-O’Hara (Coast Guard), Rear Admirals Kerry Paige Nesseler (USPHS) and Jonathan Bailey (NOAA), and Brigadier General Robert Hedelund (Marine Corps), as well as many of their spouses and Bonnie Amos, wife of the Commandant of the Marine Corps presented the family awards. Their presence demonstrated the critical importance Pentagon leadership places on supporting the spouses and children who stand behind their service members.

Support of Military Families Award

The Association also presented its Support of Military Families Award to Monica and David Gelbaum for their extensive assistance to the military community. The Gelbaums' gifts to date total nearly $264 million, the majority of which was distributed through the California Community Foundation’s Iraq and Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund in grants to 53 nonprofit organizations. These organizations have touched the lives of more than 2 million service members and their families, impacted more than 50 pieces of legislation, and encouraged millions of Americans to find ways to help the military families living in their communities.

The Gelbaums’ support of the National Military Family Association was made through a grant from the Sierra Club Foundation and enabled almost 36,000 military children to attend the Association’s Operation Purple® summer camps for kids of deployed service members.

Board of Governors Chairman, Mary Scott stated, “In our Nation's history there are few individuals who have dedicated so much of their personal wealth to support the military community. Monica and David Gelbaum are among those few. We are thankful to be counted among the charities that were touched by their generosity, and able to help so many military families in turn. ”

Until recently, Mr. and Mrs. Gelbaum gave anonymously. They went public only after they knew they could no longer maintain the magnitude of their giving; hoping others would step forward and carry the torch.

Dr. Lowell G. Daun Award

The National Military Family Association recognized Goldman Sachs & Company's Goldman Sachs Gives with the Dr. Lowell G. Daun Award for taking up that torch. Goldman Sachs Gives recognized that—although the service member wears the uniform— the entire family serves. This summer, 3,500 children who are serving the Nation are also attending Operation Purple Camp thanks primarily to the support of Goldman Sachs Gives. The Association’s Dr. Lowell G. Daun Award is given to organizations that have made significant contributions to the development of the Association and its initiatives.

The Family Award Program is sponsored by the Association of Military Banks of America and BAE Systems. The National Military Family Association’s Leadership Lunch was supported by General Dynamics, Health Net Federal Services, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, United Concordia Companies, Express Scripts, Humana Military Healthcare Services, US Family Health Plan, Wells Fargo, CGI, Kaplan, Rockwell Collins, USAA, Northrop Grumman, Spectrum Healthcare Resources, and Zeiders Enterprises.

About the National Military Family Association

The National Military Family Association is the leading nonprofit dedicated to serving the families who stand behind the uniform. Since 1969, NMFA has worked to strengthen and protect millions of families through its advocacy and programs. They provide spouse scholarships, camps for military kids, and retreats for families reconnecting after deployment and for the families of the wounded, ill, or injured. NMFA serves the families of the currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Commissioned Corps of the USPHS and NOAA. To get involved or to learn more, visit

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