Kentucky’s Adjutant General Receives Prestigious Youth ChalleNGe Award for Kentucky’s Successful Programs

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Presentation of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Champion Award to Air Force Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, the adjutant general of the Kentucky National Guard, at the National Guard Youth Foundation ChalleNGe Champions Gala in Washington, D.C. Left to right: Gail Dady, president of the foundation; U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana; Tonini; retired Air Force Lt. Gen. John Conaway, former chief of the National Guard Bureau; Army Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill)

Staff Article, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Click here for more photos from the event

WASHINGTON, DC — The Kentucky National Guard’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, was recognized as the ChalleNGe Champion at the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe’s eighth annual gala in Washington, DC for Kentucky’s dedication and success with the two Commonwealth ChalleNGe programs. Tonini spearheaded the initiative to create and launch a second youth challeNGe academy in Harlan County , Kentucky that opened in the summer of 2012.

The gala at the nation’s capitol featured celebrities, members of Congress, Governors, senior National Guard and military members, corporate and community leaders, ChalleNGe Program Directors and cadets. LeAnn Rimes was on hand to perform at the Youth National Guard Challenge Gala. The event also drew other celebrities such as actor Ricky Schroder and Daytona 500 runner-up Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

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Country and pop singer LeAnn Rimes sings at the National Guard Youth Foundation ChalleNGe Champions Gala in Washington, DC (Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill)

General Frank J. Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was a presenter during the honor ceremony. “I was proud to see Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini recognized for his significant contributions to The National Guard’s Youth ChalleNGe Program,” Grass said.

The Kentucky National Guard currently supports the Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy at Fort Knox and the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy in Haran County, Kentucky.

The mission of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is to intervene in and reclaim the lives of 16-18 year old high school dropouts, producing program graduates with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens. The 17-month program includes a five-month residential phase followed by a 12-month mentoring phase.

Click on the corresponding links for more information about the Kentucky and National Guard Youth ChalleNGe programs.

Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy

Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy

National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program

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