Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald delighted and entertained an audience of several hundred military personnel, military families and supporters of Operation Homefront as the official emcee of the 2016 Military Child of the Year Awards held recently in Washington, D.C.

Operation Homefront, one of Carnival Cruise Lines’ primary charitable partners, is the national non-profit that builds strong, stable and secure military families and organizes the annual awards event.  A Military Child of the Year is chosen by each branch of the military based on resilience and strength of character, thriving within the challenges of military life as well as leadership within their families and their communities.

This year’s winners included Lorelei McIntyre-Brewer (age 10); Christian Fagala (age 9); Jeffrey Burds (age 17); Madeleine Morlino (age 17); Keegan Fike (age 17) and John “Trip” Landon III (age 17).

Additionally, Elizabeth O’Brien (age 17) was the recipient of the first Innovation Award for Military Children.  O’Brien created the Military Child Access Assistance Program which, in partnership with the non-profit Military Missions in Action, provides accessibility ramps and other home modifications to children’s homes. She also developed the Hike2Help 5K.

Carnival awarded each child and family with a trip to New York City for the U.S. inaugural celebration of the line’s new cruise ship Carnival Vista.  The event will include a private concert by seven-time Grammy Award winning country music superstar Carrie Underwood who has partnered with Carnival on the Honor.Family.Fun. program which is raising funds for Operation Homefront.