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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 12, 2023

Meet the USCG Military Child of the Year

By AJ Pulkkinen, MyCG writer

Haydn Jones is this year’s Military Child of the Year® for the Coast Guard. A son of dual Coast Guard parents, Haydn not only fearlessly faced the challenges of numerous moves inherent in military families, but he also showed remarkable resiliency when his father was diagnosed with a life-threatening form of leukemia.  

Haydn, 17, is the second oldest of four boys. He helped care for his younger brothers while his mother supported his father - with some treatments lasting more than a week at a time.  

This whole-family effort helped Hayden’s father successfully complete treatment and recovery.  

Every April, we celebrate the Month of the Military Child by honoring the more than 1.6 million military children—including the nearly 33,000 Coast Guard children around the world. The annual awards recognize outstanding young people ages 13 to 18. Recipients represent a branch of the armed forces — the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Space Force — for their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and other criteria while facing the challenges of military family life. 

Operation Homefront selected Haydn as this year’s honoree because he reflects the positive impact young people make on their military families, schools, and communities, 

Vice Commandant Steven Poulin will be presenting Haydn’s award during the April 13 Military Child of the Year® Gala in Washington, D.C. 

Haydn Jones is an incredible young man, an accomplished student-athlete, and a tireless volunteer to better his community...wherever that may be.  
My CG caught up with Haydn as he was spending his spring break helping his father doing some grueling yard work.  

First off, how’s your dad? 
He’s doing good. He is fully recovered after about a year of treatment. It was a rough year, but it really brought us all a little closer.  

Your family recently moved from North Carolina to the Soo (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan). Where do you consider home? 
Home is wherever my family is AND wherever my friends are—North Carolina is where a lot of my friends are. I’m so lucky that I have a lot of places I can call home. Everywhere we go, I am surrounded by amazing people. 

I understand you are a cadet master sergeant and a flight sergeant in the Civil Air Patrol, a Life Scout for Scouts BSA, you’ve volunteered over 200 hours this past year, literally building bridges for community members to be able to access outdoor recreation areas, educated kids in STEM, and founded a chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at your high school. All that on top of earning National Honor Society for your academics and picking up your Varsity letter in three sports. So, do you sleep?  
Ha! I do. I am so grateful to have my family and friends that make all of that fun, so it’s not so tiring. There are many people in my life who have helped me accomplish my goals. 

What motivates your community service?  
I get to meet interesting people, work, and do great things for the community. I really enjoying working with people and getting involved in the area. 

How do you balance your academics, athletics, community service, and family commitments?  
My coaches, teachers, and others help me. Basically, I do what they tell me, and I know I’ll get through it. I’m a Christian and my faith helps keep my sanity through all the craziness.  

Do you have any advice for other military kids who may struggle with the challenges of military life?
Stay positive and get involved right away. Try to contribute. Community service is so rewarding. I made the mistake once of not being positive. I judged a community before giving it a fair chance and thought I wouldn’t like it. Turns out, once I got involved, I did. I liked it a lot.  

What are your future goals? 
I’m looking at colleges, with the Coast Guard and other service academies at the top of my list. I want to be a military pilot and engineer. My family and I are getting ready to move to Washington, D.C. this summer, so I’m looking for ways to get plugged in to the community there. 

Please join us in celebrating Haydn Jones and all of our Coast Guard children who help ensure Coast Guard families are always mission-ready.