The proud heritage of the Armed Services YMCA begins in April 1861 during the Civil War when dedicated YMCA volunteers provided relief and comfort to sick and wounded soldiers. Initially the volunteers provided aide at military encampments located near the front, but shortly after, they braved the danger accompanying the soldiers on the battlefields.
News of these selfless and courageous actions spread quickly, and the number of volunteers increased dramatically. Within seven months, the movement turned into the first large-scale civilian volunteer service corps.
Representatives of 15 YMCAs joined forces to coordinate the relief efforts and formed the United States Christian Commission, whose purpose was to provide spiritual and physical comfort to soldiers, and today’s Armed Services YMCA was born.
Frequent Moves: 6-9 Number of times Military children will be transferred by the 12th grade.
Isolation: 43% Of military families feel isolated from their communities.
Unemployment: 24% Military spouses experience unemployment, 6x the rate of their civilian counterparts.
Food Insecurity: 40% Of military children are on free or reduced-price lunch programs.
Separation: 39% Of military families experience long-term duty-related separation.
Limited Childcare: 7 in 10 Military parents struggle to find affordable and accessible childcare.
Their annual awards program honors the heroes of our heroes—military medical personnel—and is the only event dedicated to recognizing our lifesavers. Five Angels, representing each of the five branches of the Armed Services, are awarded for their selfless courage and commitment to saving lives. This one-of-a-kind event culminates with the presentation of the Angel of Honor, the highest award presented to an individual or organization demonstrating distinguished and extraordinary advancement of the Armed Services YMCA mission.
About this Event
Established in 2006, the Armed Services YMCA hosts the only awards program of its kind – honoring military medics, corpsmen and pararescuemen – representing all five branches of the U.S. Armed Services.
Each year, five Angels are recognized and applauded for their selfless courage and unwavering sacrifice while saving lives on the front lines overseas or during emergency situations here at home. The ASYMCA also presents a special Angel of Honor award to an individual or organization demonstrating distinguished and extraordinary service or advancement of the mission.
We are forever grateful to our honorees and all military medical personnel—our Angels, our Heroes—who serve so bravely and save the lives of soldiers and civilians across the country and around the globe.