MacDill’s 2018 Military Youth of the Year

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Scott Warner
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Gregory Davis, a 17-year-old high school senior at Jesuit High School in Tampa and member of the MacDill Youth Center, was presented the 2018 Military Youth of the Year award during a ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, Feb. 11, 2019. 

Each year, MacDill selects one student as a Youth of the Year representative, and this year Davis was awarded the prestigious honor for the second time by 6th Air Mobility Wing’s Vice Commander, Col. Troy Pananon.

“Mr. Davis was our Military and State Youth of the Year back in 2016 and is a very bright and well-spoken student,” said Loretta Gaines, the 6th Force Support Squadron assistant youth director. “His willingness to give back has always impressed me over the five years I have known him.”

During his acceptance speech, a humbled Davis made it clear that although receiving this award is satisfying, it is what he will do after receiving it that really matters to him.

“What I am most proud of at this point is being able to continue working on 'Virtual Respect, an anti-cyber bullying campaign,” said Davis, who founded the campaign in 2017.

To be eligible for the Military Youth of the Year award, a candidate must be between 14 and 18 years old, a member of the MacDill Youth Center, and excel in their commitment to community service, academic success, good character and citizenship and establishing long-term goals.

Davis, who is also a child of a military veteran, has demonstrated why he was selected for the award as he deflected attention from himself and used his platform to highlight good causes he has been a part of.

“Mr. Davis has accumulated 465 volunteer hours within our community since his freshman year and he constantly looks for new ways to help out others,” said Gaines.

Another one of the charitable causes Davis leads is a photography club at his high school.

“Organizations have contacted us to outright purchase the rights of our photos for their own use and we use the profits we receive to fund financial aid programs at my high school for less fortunate students,” said Davis.

Besides participating in fundraising, Davis uses his free time to help others through his work through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM, camps. Additionally, he was the keynote speaker at last year’s MathAlive! exhibit at Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa.

“My passion is volunteer work,” said Davis enthusiastically. “I’ve always had the luxury of having good people and places to go to when I needed help, so it’s rewarding to be able to give back to those within my community that haven’t always had that luxury.”

Davis looks forward to competing for Florida’s State Youth of the Year award once more.