United States Military

The service member of the year award highlights exemplary achievement by a service member beyond the call of duty. A member of each service branch is awarded every year. Awardees are selected for their demonstration of a high level of professionalism, concern for fellow service members, and their commitment to community service. In addition, we are proud to honor two additional active duty servicemembers who are making a big difference in their respective communities, all while fulfilling their duties to their country.

Lieutenant General R. Scott Dingle, U.S. Army

Lieutenant General R. Scott Dingle is the Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command. Prior to assuming the acting position, he served as the Deputy Surgeon General and Deputy Commanding General (Support), U.S. Army Medical Command, from April 2018 to August 2019. Dingle is a Distinguished Military Graduate of Morgan State University. His degrees include Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University, Master of Military Arts and Science from the School of Advanced Military Studies and a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College. Some of his awards include the Distinguished Service Medal (oak leaf cluster), Legion of Merit (two oak leaf clusters), Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (seven oak leaf clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Commendation Medal (two bronze oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal (one bronze oak leaf cluster) and a Humanitarian Service Medal.



Tech SGT Cody Smith, U.S. Air Force

Tech SGT Cody Smith, of Indianola, IA was awarded Air Force Times 2019 Airman of the year.  TSgt Smith, assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron at Cannon AFB in New Mexico. TSgt Smith has deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan and it was his deployment to Afghanistan while serving with Army Special Operations as a terminal attack officer that he was responsible for calling necessary air support in the Faryab Province where his unit quickly became outnumbered and outmanned  After sustaining serious injuries TSgt Smith called in 11 danger-close strikes that day, including nine 500-pound bombs within 120 meters, and one 500-pound bomb at about 50 meters. The actions he took resulted in the deaths of 195 enemy fighters, the wounding of 11 more and the destruction of 18 fighting positions. He also saved the lives of many American and Afghan partner troops. For his heroism, TSgt Smith was recommended for the Silver Star.  TSgt Smith is not only a hero on the battlefield but also off it. Smith regularly volunteers in his community. Tsgt Smith and wife Elizabeth host a weekly marriage group through their church, and he has previously volunteered with Helping Hands ministry to assist underserved populations in previous duty locations. Tsgt Smith and his wife live in New Mexico with their two children.

Petty Officer First Class Nathan Reynolds, U.S. Coast Guard

Petty Officer First Class Nathan Reynolds, Coast Guardsman of the year 2019, saved 9 lives in the Chesapeake Bay throughout the past several months.  An example of his outstanding service occurred last December, while on a search and rescue mission. After hours of searching, during the darkest hours of the morning while in a small boat in a furious storm, Nathan and his team, found four people floating in the water and saved their lives. Petty Officer First Class Reynolds realizes what he does for others matters on a deep level.  His passion and commitment to others is obvious. Reynolds is a shining example of our service members selfless service to our great nation.

Spc. Shayn Lindquist, U.S. Army

Spc. Shayn Lindquist was honored as the Army Times 2019 Soldier of the Year for his work with his non-profit Ruck for a Cure.  Shayn is a cancer survivor himself, having recently beat brain cancer and now inspiring others in their fight against cancer. During his chemo treatments, Shayn still participated in Army reserve drill weekends while simultaneously attending college at the University of Michigan.  It was during his treatment that Shayn founded Ruck for a Cure to help child cancer patients. Half of the money raised goes to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and half goes to Special Days Camps, which helps children with cancer. Shayn will finish his degree soon and plans to transfer to active-duty and attend officer candidate school.


Major Christopher Davis, U.S. Marine Corps

Among many other accomplishments, Chris Davis founded “Vols for Veterans,” a student organization at the University of Tennessee College of Law aimed at providing awareness and assistance among the local veteran and military community. He overcame countless obstacles on the way to hosting the organization’s first scholarship gala, but the event was incredibly successful and Vols for Vets continues to thrive thanks to his determination and leadership. Chris has also been published multiple times, writing about leadership and veteran-specific issues such as the G.I. Bill. He received the 2019 Tennessee Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy, and he also serves as an Ambassador for Service 2 Schools. Today, Chris is a Staff Judge Advocate stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC.

Master Chief Raina Hockenberry, U.S. Navy

Master Chief Raina Hockenberry currently serves on board the Hawaii-based guided-missile cruiser Port Royal and is a renowned warrior athlete.

Master Chief Hockenberry was serving as a personnel specialist in Kabul, Afghanistan when a rogue gunman opened fire on her and her trainees, wounding the 41-year-old in her tibia, groin and stomach. During her recovery from her wounds, the Navy was ready to medically retire her, but Hockenberry couldn’t bear the thought of leaving the Navy. She asked for a laptop while at Walter Reed Medical Center so that she could get back to work. 

Master Chief Hockenberry regularly competes in the Warrior Games, an athletic competition that brings wounded, sick, and injured U.S. troops together across a variety of events. She has won eight gold medals and set four swimming records last year. Additionally, she also traveled to Sydney, Australia, to take part in the Invictus Games. In recognition of her resilience and grit, Master Chief Hockenberry was named the Sailor of the Year at the annual Service Members of the Year Award ceremony in Washington, D.C., on July 10th, 2019.

Master Sgt. Jarad Stout, U.S. Marine Corps

Master Sgt. Jarad Stout is a Marine Raider who was awarded the Silver Star for bravery in April 2018 for his actions in the early morning hours of Nov. 20, 2015, when the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, was attacked by gunmen affiliated with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

 Master Sgt Stout, who was serving as a liaison to the U.S. embassy at the time, when he received word of an “active shooter.” He and his team were then out the door in five minutes. Stout had very little initial information regarding the attack, but he devised a plan and led his team, braving grenades and small arms fire, to help rescue hostages.

More than 20 people were killed in the mass shooting, including one American.