McKnight family earns national honor
By Melissa Bower | Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, October 16, 2008 8:40 AM CDT
Volunteering and getting involved in activities are what keep a military family going strong, according to Christy McKnight.
The spouse of Col. Mark McKnight, Battle Command Training Program commander, said activities like the Special Olympics, Relay for Life and the 3rd Infantry Division's Family Readiness Group helped her family cope with deployments and military life.
The McKnights were named the National Military Family Association's October 2008 Military Family of the Month. Twelve military families are chosen each year from throughout the Department of Defense. The winning families receive $500 and a $250 donation to the charity of their choice. They are also in the running for Military Family of the Year, which will be named in June. The winning family receives an additional $1,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C. to be honored by military leaders.
Upon presenting the award, Brig. Gen. Robert Abrams, deputy commander for Combined Arms Center-Training, commended the McKnights.
"This is no small honor if you consider the population they're talking about," Abrams said.
The McKnights were nominated during their stay at Fort Stewart, Ga., and recently relocated to Fort Leavenworth.
In June, Col. McKnight returned from a 15-month deployment as chief of staff of the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq. He said the community played a large role in his family's success and happiness.
"It's the community, it's the schools, it's the Garrison and it's the post - that's what allows us to do all the things Army families do," he said.
McKnight's 19-year-old twin sons both earned Eagle Scout. Ian is a freshman at Texas A&M University and Mitchell is at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School. During their father's deployment, the boys were also involved in their high school Junior ROTC, St. Jude's bike-a-thon, teaching Sunday school and other activities.
Sarah is a senior at Leavenworth High School this year. She runs for the cross county team and also plays volleyball and soccer. At her previous high school, she also ran for the track team.
Meredith is a fourth-grader at Eisenhower Elementary School. She is involved in Brownie Girl Scouts and volunteers with her family.
As a nurse, Christy said she knows staying active and involved in the community has been proven to improve one's health.
"There's something for everybody, whatever your interests are," she said. "There's ACS, there's FRG... there's no end to what you can do."
NMFA Website October 2008
COL Mark McKnight, USA; his wife, Christy; and their children, Ian, Mitchell, Sarah, and Meredith.
Been involved in any committee, club, board or fundraiser at or around Ft. Stewart? If so, you are pretty much guaranteed to have met a member of the McKnight family. Mom, Christy, has a spirit of volunteerism so strong that it is no surprise her children follow in her footsteps. Mark, currently deployed, knows that Christy and the kids are keeping busy back home. The McKnight’s participation in the St. Jude’s Bike-a-thon, the Special Olympics, Relay for Life, Toys for Tots, the church and a host of other events around the community earned twins, Ian and Mitchell, the title of “Teen Volunteers of the Year” in 2006. Sarah, like her brothers, is active with the church and special events, and is on the high school cross country, soccer and track teams. Even littlest sis, Meredith, pitches in at Brownies and helps Mom out with the Officers’ Spouses Club. Considering the McKnight’s recent relocation to Ft Leavenworth and the twins’ upcoming college adventures with one at West Point and the other at Texas A&M, we are certain this family is just getting started. The National Military Family Association is proud to name the McKnight’s our Family of the Month