One of the most treasured aspects of the holiday season is spending time with Family. Fort Bragg honored that tradition by naming its 14th annual Family of the Year to kick off the installation holiday celebration, Dec. 1.
Families were nominated by their unit commands for demonstrating the strength, resilience and cohesion necessary in a military Family, said Maj. Gen. Paul LaCamera, deputy commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg.
After reviewing the submissions of the 28 Families nominated, Army Community Service whittled the field to the top five Families. These Families were then interviewed by a panel that chose Spc. Coy Hill III, Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Field Artillery Brigade, XVIII Abn. Corps, his wife Mary Kaitlyn, and their son Coy IV, as Fort Bragg’s Family of the Year.
“The strength of our nation is our Army, the strength of our Army is our Soldiers and the strength of our Soldiers is our Families,” said LaCamera quoting Gen. Raymond Odierno, the former chief of the staff of the Army. “We get to do what we do because of the love and support of the Families that we have,” LaCamera said.
He recognized that the Army is made up of many different Family compositions, and the words chosen by the Families to describe themselves represented this diversity. To describe themselves, some Families chose words like “supportive,” others chose “All-American” and the winning Family described themselves as “selfless.”
Coy and Mary Kaitlyn wiped away tears of disbelief as they were awarded $1,000 from USAA, a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, an Army and Air Force Exchange Service gift card and more.
The young Family said they felt overwhelmed when they found out they had won.
“I had been praying, ‘Jesus if this is what you want, if you want us to win, then you’ll let us win,’” said Hill.
This faith is the driving factor in the Hills’ life. The Family spends most of their free time working with their church — First Church Fayetteville. Among other things they do, they serve as Sunday school teachers, small group youth leaders and they are members of the church’s worship team.
“Donating our time, effort and resources to others is what it’s all about,” the Hills wrote in their nomination packet.
Mary Kaitlyn said she hopes her young Family can serve as an example to others in the year ahead.
“We’re only 21 and we just want to show people that even though we are young, we can still volunteer,” she said. “You can volunteer and you can make a difference, no matter how old you are.”