Chief Quartermaster John Lehnen, U.S. Navy, Norfolk, VA
A devoted husband and father of four special needs children, with over 10 years of service, Chief Quartermaster John Lehnen has shown extraordinary dedication to his family and country. Right from the start, John has been passionately involved in his children’s lives. When Kathryne (now 9) and triplets Lindsey, Jacob, and Isaac (now 6) were born prematurely, John visited them in the NICU every day. In the following years, Jacob underwent multiple neurosurgeries, the kids went through various rehabilitation therapies and Jennifer had major surgery. Somehow John managed to be present for each event while fulfilling a rigorous military schedule.
Prior to deployment, John spends time helping the kids to process their fears and concerns about him leaving and he works hard to stay close during separation. And while devoted to his family, Chief Lehnen also cares deeply about his fellow sailors and their families. John encourages sailors to participate in the United Through Reading campaign and family readiness groups. When sailors deploy, he offers ideas to keep them engaged with their families. He is usually the first person to offer a meal, childcare for an evening, or a listening ear for a family in need. John also serves his fellow Sailors as an Alcohol and Drug Abuse Management Supervisor (ADAMS) and a Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) fund custodian.
As a testament to his military service, Chief Lehnen has received multiple awards including: Sailor of the Quarter and Navy-Corps Achievement and Commendation Medals. Chief Lehnen also received the 2009 Military Fatherhood Award from National Fatherhood Initiative.
Etan Thomas, Mitchellville, MD
Etan Thomas is a NBA star and active dad. He married Nichole Oliver, who was a member of the Syracuse womenâ€™s basketball team, in June of 2004. Etan and Nichole have a son, Malcolm, and a daughter, Imani. Etan balances his work and family, and he has a very active role in his community. In the summer of 2008, Etan lent his time and energy to a new voter registration campaign â€“ â€śRespect My Vote!â€ť, and he served as the American Heart Association, WUSA 9 & Suntrust Bankâ€™s Spokesperson for HeartWalk 2008. Etan has also participated in a Germany Special Olympics camp during the Wizards pre-season overseas, and heâ€™s continued his tradition of visiting several schools and the DC Youth Prison. Etan also took part in the NBA Players Associationâ€™s â€śFeeding One Millionâ€ť campaign, a partnership with the â€śFeed The Childrenâ€ť organization in Kenya in July 2007.