Not every service member who does something remarkable is publicly recognized, but with a Military Times Service Members of the Year Award, an unsung hero can receive the praise he or she deserves.
This is your chance to nominate a service member you know who has gone above and beyond the call of duty — someone who shows concern for their fellow service members, their community and the country they serve.
What you need to know:
1. Everyday heroes. Each year the Military Times publications honor five everyday heroes — a soldier, sailor, Marine, airman and Coast Guardsman — who are making a difference off the radar, whether it's improving their community or inspiring those around them.
2. Changes this year. The Service Members of the Year awards, now in the 15th year, are unique in that candidates are nominated by their peers. In 2015, the nomination process will add a little friendly competition between bases — the military installation each winner is stationed at will receive a cash donation for its Morale, Welfare and Recreation program.
Another exciting change for the 2015 competition is the addition of a Kaplan University scholarship prize of up to $30,000 for each winner.
3. Who's your hero? To nominate your Service Member of the Year, visit smoy.militarytimes.com. You will be asked to provide descriptions of your nominee's on- and off-duty accomplishments as well as some biographical stats.
The deadline for nominations is March 15.
4. Selection process. The editors of Air Force Times, Army Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times will meet in the weeks leading up to the July ceremony on Capitol Hill. The editors will sort through the nominations until just a few are left for a final selection. Since it's not an easy decision, the editors will also select recipients for honorable mentions.
Finalists will be contacted in June.
5. The perks. The overall winner from each branch will be flown to Washington, D.C., for the experience of a lifetime, including:
- A weeklong trip to the nation's capital for activities and a formal awards ceremony and reception on Capitol Hill.
- All-expenses paid attendance for two (transportation to and from Washington, D.C.; lodging and meals; local transportation).
- Full scholarship from Kaplan University — transferable to an eligible dependent — worth up to $30,000.
- Guided tour of Washington, D.C.
- Luncheon with Military Times editors and staff reporters.
- Professional photographs and video of the awards ceremony.
- A feature in the Military Times websites, newspapers and on the Service Members of the Year website.