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Charleston fifth-grader named national recipient of military award

By Staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ten-year-old Jonathan Harrell of Charleston has been named one of five national recipients of the Military Kid of the Year award, sponsored by the nonprofit organization Our Military Kids.

The organization awards grants to children of deployed National Guard and Reserve service members who often live too far from a military base to use support services found there. Grants are used for a variety of educational, athletic and recreational activities, including the piano lessons Jonathan Harrell received when his father, Lt. Col. Todd Harrell, deployed to Afghanistan with the West Virginia Army National Guard.

Jonathan was nominated to be one of Our Military Kids of the Year by his mother, Marilyn Wrenn, who submitted a video of her son participating in his grant activity, piano lessons with instructor, Margaret Wilson, of Charleston.

Jonathan is a Boy Scout, collects donations for the animal shelter, and raises awareness about recycling. At Kanawha City Elementary School, where he is a fifth-grader, he serves on the safety patrol and is an in-class tutor for other students.

"Within a matter of weeks of starting his piano lessons, Jonathan learned how to play the theme song from 'Charlie Brown,'" wrote his mother. "His progress continues as he learns more about music theory and adds to his repertoire of songs."

On April 19, Jonathan will travel to Washington, D.C., to perform the "Charlie Brown" theme song at a Military Kids of the Year awards ceremony.

"Jonathan's nomination and video impressed everyone in the Our Military Kids office," said Linda Davidson, executive director of the organization. "From his commitment to his community during his father's absence, to his achievements in school, to his incredible piano abilities, we are honored to bring Jonathan to Washington to showcase his talent to top military leadership."

Founded in 2004, the Our Military Kids organization has provided more than 35,000 grants totaling more than $14 million for children of National Guard and Reserve families. Corporations, private donors and government grants provide funding for the program.



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