Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Wayne Barnett
WASHINGTON — More than 1,000 spectators were on hand Oct. 10 as a former Fort Carson family received the Association of the United States Army Volunteer Family of the Year Award in Washington, D.C.
Former Sgt. Jeremy Barnhart, who was medically retired while serving with the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, his wife, Katrina Barnhart, and their children Kayleigh, 13; Colton, 11; Brayden, 7; and Logan Ricketts, 18, were presented with the award at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition. They were selected from Army Families nominated from across the globe and notified of their selection in July.
“When they called and told us, I just couldn’t believe it,” said Katrina Barnhart. “I made Jeremy call them back just to make sure we had won and weren’t the runners-up.”
“The fact that this family was chosen Armywide is very significant,” said Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. James A. Kilpatrick.
The Barnharts have been volunteering as a family for years. Katrina Barnhart volunteered for the Enlisted Spouses Club
Jeremy Barnhart’s volunteer résumé includes mentoring children with the Boy Scouts of America since 2005, including serving as cubmaster of Fort Carson Pack
264, counseling troubled youths at detention centers and guiding youths of fallen heroes through the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.
“There are a lot of young Soldier Families out there that don’t feel like they are part of the organization — volunteering is a way to feel like you are part of that organization,” said Jeremy Barnhart. “It really changes your perspective on what it is you’re doing in the Army and why you serve, and why … we do what we do.”
The Barnhart children are actively involved in projects as well, such as Pennies for Patients and Harvests of Love food drives and collecting toys for underprivileged children at Christmas.
AUSA and TriWest Healthcare Alliance sponsored this year’s award, which included an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., a cash prize and a gift basket.
“The whole experience has been overwhelming,” said Katrina Barnhart. “We are very honored for the thanks we have been getting. We do this because we enjoy giving back; it’s like a family time to us.”
The family relocated to San Antonio in April following Jeremy Barhnart’s medical retirement.