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Military Family of the Year

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A positive attitude and giving back to their community has earned a Colorado Springs, Colo., family the National Military Family Association’s title of 2008 Family of the Year.

Air Force Capt. Alex Gazzaway, his wife, Laura, and their children, Zachary, Parker, Grace, and Cameron, left a significant impression on their most recent duty station, Cape Cod Air Force Station, Mass.

Among many other volunteer activities, Captain Gazzaway developed a squadron recreational Web site to strengthen communication among squadron members, their families and newcomers. Laura Gazzaway was the elected vice president of the multi-service Cape Cod Spouses Organization, and was engaged in many basewide charity activities.

“It is challenging to balance work, family and community involvement, but we try to intertwine the kids in everything we do,” the captain said. “We consider it a way to give back to the community and create fun family memories. It is rare that we do an activity without the whole family involved.”

The couple’s children participated in numerous activities such as Base Clean-Up Day, holiday food drives and Cub Scout fundraisers.

The family was honored at a reception that included military leaders and association sponsors among the attendees. The family also will receive $1,000 and will have the opportunity to present $500 to a charity of their choice whose work benefits military families.

Each year the National Military Family Association recognizes outstanding military families through its Family Award program. The award recognizes those families who have made the most of the adventure of military life and conquered its challenges.

The NMFA Family Award is given to 12 families who exemplify the best of the military family lifestyle. Each winning family will receive $500, and one will be chosen as the NMFA Family of the Year. Winners from the past 12 months include:

— Kotchman Family, retired Army: Donald, Anne, Sarah, Paul, Tommy;

— Duessel Family, Navy Reserve: Andrew, Carolyn, Alec, Nicole;

— Killen Family, Navy: John, Sandra, April, Angel, Don;

— Gonsalves Family, Army: Ryan, Janet, Brittany, Nathan;

— Baker Family, Air National Guard: Wayland, Jennifer, Kelcee, Kolten, Krysta, Jhustin, Jhianna, Jhaydann;

— Lehnen Family, Navy: John, Jennifer, Kathryne, Lindsey, Jacob, Isaac;

— Taliento Family, Army: Michael, Tami, Christian, Emily;

— Fricke Family, Army National Guard: Craig, Melissa, Nathaniel, Samuel, Joel, Raquel, Kelsey;

— Lopez Family, Army: Kristopher, Valerie, Nevaeh, Randy, Celeste, Alysa;

— Sanders Family, Air Force: Jimmie, Lisa, David, Bryson; and

— Wolfe Family, Air Force: David, Doniel, David, Chayne, Aspen, Michael, Johnny Irish.

To nominate a family for the NMFA Family Award, visit the National Military Family Association’s Web site.

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