Military Child recieves high honor

Gabriel Curcione poses with family and members of the community, Friday, April 22, 2016, after receiving the Congressional Silver Medal at Wilson High School in Wilson, New York. Curcione received the award after performing more than 400 hundred hours of volunteerism, community service, and personal development. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Mekkri)

Gabriel Curcione poses with family and members of the community, Friday, April 22, 2016, after receiving the Congressional Silver Medal at Wilson High School in Wilson, New York. Curcione received the award after performing more than 400 hundred hours of volunteerism, community service, and personal development. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Mekkri)

Master Sgt. Paul Curcione watches his son, Gabriel, receive the Congressional Silver Medal via a video conferencing app. Friday, April 22, 2016 at Wilson High School, Wilson, New York. Curcione is currently serving his annual tour in Kadena Air Base in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Mekkri)

Master Sgt. Paul Curcione watches his son, Gabriel, receive the Congressional Silver Medal via a video conferencing app. Friday, April 22, 2016 at Wilson High School, Wilson, New York. Curcione is currently serving his annual tour in Kadena Air Base in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Mekkri)

NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION --

    April is month of the Military Child. This awareness month was established to underscore the important role that approximately 2 children play in the Armed Forces community.  Gabriel P. Curcione is one of those children.

    Curcione’s father is a Master Sgt. with the 30th Aerial Port Squadron at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. After Gabe’s father deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 the weight of being a military child was realized.

    “It was really hard not having that second parental figure there,” said Curcione of his father’s deployment. “My brother and sister had to take on more responsibility.”

    This responsibility ignited a passion in Curcione to help others. With the help of his mother he applied for the United States Congressional Award and began mentoring other children who were in similar situations.

    “I was able to meet other kids just like me, other military children,” said Curcione. “We were able to share our experiences and help each other out when our parents were deployed.”

    Curcione’s passion allowed him to travel the country, speaking with dozens of military children.

    “I council the kids,” Curcione said. “I share my personal story about what happened when my father was deployed.”

    Mentoring and counseling are traits that are strong within the Curcione family. Gabriel’s father, Paul tries to instill these values into his children.

    “That’s one of the most rewarding parts of my job,” said Master Sgt. Paul Curcione, 30th Aerial Port Squadron. “I love mentoring kids. I love preparing them to eventually take over my job, to see when they get it and that light bulb comes on. It’s so rewarding and I think Gabe feels the same way.”

    Currently, the high school senior has more than 400 hours of community service, volunteerism and personal development invested into the Congressional Award. For this, he received the Congressional Award Silver Medal.

    The Silver Medal was presented by Congressman Chris Collins (What/where), Friday, April 22nd at Wilson High School, Wilson, New York. This was the first time that Collins has presented this award.

    “I hope that winning this award will help me get into the Air Force Academy,” said Curcione. “I hope that I’m able to inspire other people to achieve more, too.”

    Curcione is looking forward to attending Rochester Institute of Technology this fall in Rochester, New York. He anticipates joining the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and studying mechanical engineering.  He plans to apply to the Air Force Academy in July for the class of 2021.