Lejeune High School senior one of six to receive national honor


SAN ANTONIO - Lejeune High School senior Jeffrey Burds was one of six recipients to be recognized by Operation Homefront as a 2016 Military Child of the Year.

Each award recipient will receive $10,000 and will be flown with their parents or guardian to Washington, D.C. for a special recognition gala on April 14. United Technologies Corp. is the presenting sponsor for the awards. Burds was named the Navy recipient award winner.

Operation Homefront is a national non-profit organization that builds strong, stable, and secure military families annually. It gives the award to an outstanding military child from each branch of service – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the National Guard.

"The children in our military families demonstrate the best in our society and our Military Child of the Year® Award recipients are extraordinary representatives of this spirit of selfless service," said Brig. Gen. (ret) John I. Pray Jr., president and CEO of Operation Homefront. "They perform at a very high level both in and out of school while simultaneously dealing with parental deployments, recurring relocations, and other challenges associated with military life. I can't wait to meet these outstanding young people and present them with their well-deserved awards."

Following are the 2016 Military Child of the Year® Award recipients.


Lorelei McIntyre-Brewer, 11

Duncannon, Pa.


Christian Fagala, 9

Quantico, Virginia


Madeleine Morlino, 17

Moorestown, New Jersey


Keegan Fike, 17

Fairhaven, Massachusetts


John "Trip" Landon III, 17

Ellensburg, Washington

Jeffrey Burds' biography

Jeffrey Burds of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was 9 years old when his mother succumbed to colon cancer. The day before she passed, his mother told him, "Do great things in life." It is apparent that 17-year-old Jeffrey, son of Debra Rae Burds and Navy Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Joseph Burds, took to those words to heart, devoting his life to making a difference in the lives of others. He is distinguished, above all, by his leadership and by his academic excellence.

Posting a 3.94 grade point average, Jeffrey is a National Honor Society volunteer and executive officer of the Camp Lejeune High School Marine Corps JROTC, the boot camp of which he was named an honor graduate in 2013. A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Jeffrey's capacity for leadership is further evidenced by his roles on the high school's track, football, wrestling, and basketball teams.

Jeffrey was awarded in 2014 with Most Valuable Player honors in track, Defensive Most Valuable Player in football, and the Sportsmanship Award in basketball. He captained his football and track teams.

In 2015, Jeffrey received the 8th Marine Regiment Workhorse Award, which his coaches chose him for and the commander of the 8th Marines presented. The award is presented to "a senior student who is a team leader, shows exceptional character, and is a leader in the classroom." In the same year, Jeffrey was recognized for his academic leadership with the 2015 Rotary Youth Leadership Award. In 2014, Jeffrey received The American Legion Bronze Medal for Scholastic Excellence for excelling in the classroom as well as in JROTC, in which he has received more than 20 individual ribbons.

Jeffrey's community service also includes, but is not limited to, his participation in Students Against Destructive Decisions, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Special Olympics, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and the Semper Fi Fund Outdoor Odyssey. Jeffrey has cleared the high bar of academic achievement and community service through eight military permanent change of station relocations and 66 months of his father's deployment. Indeed, as he contemplates his future, which may include service to his country as a Navy officer, Jeffrey continues to "do great things in life."

Service Highlights

National Honor Society

Students Against Destructive Decisions

Marine Corps JROTC Executive Officer

American Cancer Society Relay for Life

National Downs Syndrome Buddy Walk

Confraternity of Christian Doctrine

Special Olympics

Semper Fi Fund Outdoor Odyssey

Other Highlights

Varsity football, basketball, track, and wrestling

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Favorite Quote: "You can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets." — Arnold Schwarzenegger

Explaining the relevance of these words to live by, Jeffrey said, "The harder you work and the more experience you obtain, the more it puts you that much higher up on your own ladder of success."