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NMFA Honors Military Families, Names Family of the Year

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Families like the Mullins "embrace their service to the nation, are role models in their community, and understand that together they truly can make a difference in the lives of others," Mary Scott, the association's chairman of the board, told a packed audience during the association's 2010 Leadership Luncheon.

Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley presented the award to Trasi Mullin and her six children: Briley, Ali, Brian Jr., Catie, Cormac and Jack. Lt. Col. Brian Mullin is deployed to Iraq, but happened to call just after the ceremony ended. Trasi Mullin raced to talk to him as soon as she could break away from the people rushing to congratulate her.

"I can't believe it; I'm shocked," Mullin told her husband. He replied that he wasn't shocked because he knew she deserved the honor, she said with tears in her eyes.

Mullin's 12-year-old daughter, Briley, said she could tell her dad was excited about the award. "I know he really wishes he was here," she added.

While honored her family was chosen, Mullin said she believes any of the families honored would have been an outstanding choice. "We're a simple representation of all the thousands and thousands of families, not just in the Air Force, but across all branches," she said.

The Mullins were honored for their participation in the community as religious educators, Scout leaders and volunteers for medical causes. The children help out by mowing the lawns of families with a deployed servicemember and also started a collection to help with relief efforts in Haiti.

The ceremony also honored the six other families contending for the association's Family of the Year title, with one family traveling in from as far away as Japan. The families each represented a uniformed service branch -- the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ?- and had earlier been named their service's Family of the Year.

The finalists include: -- Army Family of the Year: the Campbell family from Landstuhl, Germany; -- Navy Family of the Year: the Seidel family from Colts Neck, N.J.; -- Marine Corps Family of the Year: the Francis family from Okinawa, Japan; -- Coast Guard Family of the Year: the Kennedy family from Beaufort, N.C.;
 -- USPHS Family of the Year: the Seligman family from Potomac, Md.; -- and the NOAA Family of the Year: the Heesch family from Gulfport, Miss.

Top leaders from each branch presented the families with their service-level Family of the Year award during the ceremony.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. presented the Campbells with the Army Family of the Year award. Army Sgt. Joseph Campbell, home on leave from his deployment in Afghanistan, was able to join his wife, Tawny, and children, Ceilidha and Rhynli, at the event.

Casey thanked them for going above and beyond what was expected. "I've been a member of the Army family for 62 years; I was an Army brat," he said. "The one thing that's been a constant is the general feeling of a family ... and the willingness to reach out and help others. And I can't think of a better representation of that spirit than the Campbell family."

The National Military Family Association is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening and protecting the families of men and women currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen.

*Related Sites:* National Military Family Association  [ http://www.militaryfamily.org/ ]