2017 Young Heroes Awards

Madigan Foundation's annual event celebrates small soldiers in a big war

By Jared Lovrak on May 11, 2017

Being a military newspaper, the staff at The Ranger meets a lot of heroes, and we have more opportunities than most to ponder what the word "hero" really means. Our military servicemembers are heroes, of course. Anyone who willingly forfeits the relative comfort of being a civilian in order to take up the myriad rigors and tolls of military service, potentially giving their lives is a textbook definition of a hero; but by no means is it the only definition.

Our servicemembers are heroes because they seek out the circumstances that call for their heroism. In many cases, the circumstances seek us out, but we thankfully still have the option to flee if we're not the heroic type. But when those circumstances seek us out from within, running away isn't an option. However unfair it is, sometimes heroes are forced to be heroes; and sometimes that means just getting up each morning.

Last Saturday, the Patrick S. Madigan Foundation and Madigan Pediatric Department hosted their annual Young Heroes Awards ceremony - a tradition at Madigan Army Medical Center for almost 20 years.

The Young Heroes Awards were created to recognize the children of service personnel for their courage and perseverance in dealing with challenging medical disabilities and illnesses. The 14 recognized were selected from a list of nominees submitted by their friends, family members and teachers and members of the Madigan Pediatric Department.

The 127th Tactical Fighting Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan established the Young Heroes program in 1987. It has since been adopted at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord joined the ranks in 1999. The Madigan Foundation adopted the program in 2003, renaming it the Claire Daily-Stafinbil Young Heroes Program in 2005, in honor of the woman who worked so hard to make the program a fixture at JBLM.

As each child was introduced, their attending physicians spoke of their courage in front of a slide showing the recipient's pictures. They were each presented with an engraved medal and certificate, as well as gifts from the Madigan Foundation. Two older recipients also received renewable $1,000 scholarships.

Keynote speakers included Madigan Deputy Commander Col. John E. Kent, Chief of Pediatrics Col. LaRanee Braun, and Madigan Foundation President Col. (Ret.) Dave Soma.

The 2017 Claire Daily-Stafinbil Young Heroes Awardees
Audry Hill
Brandt Seymour
Gabriel Andujo-Magana
Grace Stanley
Jacob Simmons
Kandace Savage
Katina Miller
Khaleel Biason
Mallorie Sanchez
Nykese Mumford
Riley Costantini
Toni Reese

Scholarship Awardees
Earnest Washington
Michelle Creollo

Heroes are people who show uncommon valor in the face of hardship; battling against it in whatever form it may take. They're everywhere you look. Some heroes wear camouflage. Some wear police or firefighters' uniforms. Young Heroes just happen to wear children's clothes.

For more information on the Madigan Foundation and the Claire Daily-Stafinbil Young Heroes Program, please visit madiganfoundation.org