The award was established in 2001 by Army Times Publishing Company (renamed in 2015, Sightline Media Group). Formerly known as Military Times Service Members of the Year, the initial program highlighted exemplary achievement by a service member beyond the call of duty.
Service Members of the Year is now produced by Military Charity Organization, a nonprofit corporation established to recognize, salute and highlight the exemplary service of active duty personnel serving in each branch of the U.S. Armed Services. Military Charity Organization additionally supports other veteran service organizations conducting activities within the meaning of Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).
In the past 18 years, the annual Service Members of the Year Award has grown into a much-anticipated event. The awards ceremony has become one of Washington’s A-list events attended by congressional, military and community leaders.
Criteria for Selection
Nominees must be U.S. residents (excluding Puerto Rico) who are U.S. active military, a member of the one of the military reserves through August 2018 and are 18 years or older at the time of entry.
To be considered for this award the advisory board committee is looking for nominees with exceptional service or achievements occurring between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018.
Nominees must demonstrate:
- A high level of professionalism
- Concern for fellow service members
- Commitment to community service
Military Charity Organization, through the respective advisory board committee will make the Service Members of the Year selections from the nominations received. Finalists will be contacted in on or about April 1st of 2019.
The Overall Winner of each branch receives the following:
- A VIP trip to Washington, DC for activities and a formal awards ceremony
- All-expenses paid attendance for 2 (transportation to and from Washington, D.C.; lodging and meals; local transportation)
- Formal awards reception and ceremony on Capitol Hill
- Professional photographs and video of the awards ceremony
- A feature in the Military Times websites, newspapers and on the Service Members of the Year website
New Award in 2018
In 2018 a new award had been added to recognize former service members for their outstanding accomplishments out of uniform.
The first-ever Veteran of the Year award was presented during the annual Service Members of the Year ceremony.
- The Veteran of the Year Award recognizes and honors an exceptional veteran who, through his character, spirit, and exceptional public service sets an example, and makes an extraordinary difference in their community, for their comrade veterans and for awareness of essential military and veteran issues.