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JBSA’s outstanding military youth recognized

  • Published
  • By Lori A. Bultman
  • 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Joint Base San Antonio recognizes exceptional military youth each year, one on each of its three major installations. This year’s honorees are Leandra Garcia, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston’s Youth of the Year; Jasony Ford, JBSA Randolph’s Youth of the Year; and Elizabeth Note, JBSA-Lackland's Youth of the Year.

Garcia was also recognized as the Texas State Military Youth of the Year for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

“We are so honored to have these three exceptional military youth on JBSA,” said Matt Kuhl, assistant flight chief for JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Child & Youth Programs. “Each one has worked diligently to be a role model for other military youth, showing how their life experiences as a child of a military service member have shaped them to be resilient. They’ve turned the challenges of frequent moves and transitions into opportunities to thrive as developing and successful young leaders in their community.”

Garcia, 16, has been involved in youth programs at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston since the age of 10. She is the vice president of the installation’s Teen Leadership Keystone Club, is active in community service, participates in teen outreach, and DJs with Keystone club members for the program and Joint Base events.

The high school senior who is homeschooled has a 3.8 GPA and plans to attend Alamo Colleges District-Palo Alto College to pursue a degree in political science, and possibly study law.

Garcia, who describes herself as ambitious and persevering, encourages others to work hard and strive for the best in life.

“As Texas Military Youth of the Year, I want to help teens bring out their true selves by giving them a voice that will serve them in life,” she wrote in her nomination essay. “I want to create that safe space for them so that they may be able to feel confident enough in themselves to achieve greatness.

"I hope to use the experience and knowledge I have gained to help create those spaces and hopefully bring some sort of hope to others who feel there is no place for them,” she wrote. “To continue my efforts, I will work hard to educate myself so that I may become a pillar of inspiration to other youth.”

The JBSA-Randolph Military Youth of the Year Jasony Ford, 17, attends Randolph Field High School. Her parents are both active-duty military members. She plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin, and then Harvard University to study law.

The JBSA-Lackland Military Youth of the Year, Elizabeth Note, attends Stacy Junior and Senior High School. She intends to pursue a degree in corporate or international commerce law at the University of California Los Angeles.

Note stated her platform includes growing mentally and emotionally through overcoming hardships and working with other people so they may overcome their own challenges.

“Being Military Youth of the Year allows a platform to share my story and to inform others of the challenges of their generation,” she said. “I want to help teens and youth find out what they want to do in life and who they are as a person.”

On April 1, 2024, the three honorees were on hand for the signing by Brig. Gen. Russell D. Driggers, commander, JBSA and 502nd Air Base wing, of the Month of the Military Child proclamation, recognizing military youth across San Antonio during April. Throughout the month, community members are encouraged to show their support by wearing the color purple in recognition of the sacrifices military children make and the support they provide to their parents serving in the armed services around the world.