Air Force teen receives award

Shelby Barber, the recipient of the Operation Homefront 2018 Military Child of the Year Award for Innovation, spent the afternoon with Booz Allen Hamilton to brainstorm about her project to help children who suffer from allergies April 17.

Story and photos by Operation Homefront

Shelby Barber, a local Air Force military family member, received the Military Child of the Year Award for Innovation during Operation Homefront’s annual awards gala in Arlington, Virginia April 19.

This is the 10th anniversary of the awards, which each year has provided extraordinary young recipients with opportunities to be recognized by senior military leaders, elected officials, celebrities and other remarkable military children.

The award recipients were selected for their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and other criteria while facing the challenges of military family life.

Chris Singleton, MLB analyst with ESPN and master of ceremonies for the Operation Homefront’s annual awards gala, speaks to award recipient Shelby Barber.

Six of the awardees represented the armed forces branch in which their parent either serves or has served — Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the National Guard. A panel of independent judges with ties to the military-support community selected the awardees.

The seventh awardee received the Military Child of the Year Award for Innovation.

This award is presented to a military child who has designed a bold and creative solution to address a local, regional or global challenge.

Shelby Barber, a 17-year-old senior at James Campbell High School, is developing a device that combines the features of two current medical devices and aids anyone that suffers from severe allergies.

Being an allergy patient herself and having a love for anything and everything medical drove her idea.

“Children in elementary schools are my target audience because I want them to feel safe when having to use life-saving equipment, so they can use it on their own if they are in a situation they would need to use it in,” Shelby said.

“I think children need help for their protection. Making equipment that deals with needles needs to be as user-friendly as possible for the safety of the person getting injected and the distributor … I want to see this project succeed for the better of human health and everyday lives.”

The daughter of Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mark Barber and Elizabeth Barber, Shelby has a 4.3 GPA, and is a member of the National Honor Society. She volunteers for numerous organizations, such as Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity and the March of Dimes.

During their time in the nation’s capital, the winners visited members of Congress on Capitol Hill and toured the National Museum of American History.

Each award recipient received $10,000, a laptop computer and a free cruise.

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Category: Life & Leisure