The nation has watched carefully as dedicated athletes powered through the first week of competition at the 2012 Olympics.
A prime example of this transition to Olympic glory is Gabby Douglas, the 16-year-old gymnast who edged out tough competition to win gold in the all-around competition after helping bring home a gold for Team USA just a few nights before.
Although by now you’re familiar with her name and brilliant work, you may not have known that Gabby is a proud military kid. Gabby’s father, a Staff Sargent with the Air National Guard, has faced three deployments since 2003.
Although the Olympics are a show of what these athletes are capable of, a lot of recognition must go to everyone who helped them get to that point as well. Everyone from families to coaches and teammates are an instrumental part of their success.
Gabby recently took the time to recognize how a military charity has helped her achieve her dream of being a member of the Olympic gymnastics team. Our Military Kids donates to military children dealing with a parent’s deployment to help ease the financial burden that comes with training for sports, the fine arts and tutoring.
The $500 grant Gabby received from the organization helped send her to a gymnastics training camp in Texas.
Gabby’s mother, Natalie Hawkins, was very grateful for the organization’s gift.
“In the grand scheme of things, $500 may not seem like that much money,” she said. “But it made the difference between keeping Gabby at home and sending her to a camp that would play a part in molding her into the Olympic gymnast she is today.”
Our Military Kids has donated 38,000 grants totaling over 15 million dollars since 2004 and knows that even though not all of the recipients go on to become Olympians, the impact is equally as inspiring and important.
Military children aren’t alone in London — Arielle Martin is a military spouse hoping to bring home the United States’ first gold medal in women’s BMX. At the age of 15 ,Arielle was the youngest woman to go pro in BMX and now she’s looking to continue the legacy of firsts in the relatively young sport of BMX, which wasn’t added to Olympic competition until 2005.
The entire military community will be watching as these and other military members compete over the final week of competition. Gabby continues to participate in event finals and the BMX competition starts on August 10th so be sure to keep an eye out and give your full support.
Photo courtesy Alexander Kachaev