André McMillian Speaks at Operation Homefront Military Child of the Year Gala

Thursday, April 6, 2017

André McMillian, director, Business Development, Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, represented United Technologies Corp. at the Operation Homefront Military Child of the Year Gala. Operation Homefront provides financial, food assistance, repairs and help to the families of service members and wounded warriors.

Operation Homefront's annual Military Child of the Year awards recognizes six outstanding young people ages 8 to 18. Each of them represent a branch of the armed forces for their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and other criteria while facing the challenges of military family life. There is a seventh award for innovation for a person age 13-18.

Remarks, as prepared for delivery

Thank you for your warm welcome.

Tonight I have the distinct honor and pleasure of representing United Technologies, and specifically the 35,000 employees at Pratt & Whitney. UTC has been the presenting sponsor of this event for six years, and this is the second time I have attended this Gala and this event. Like last year, this event is absolutely extraordinary.

The recipients we are honoring tonight are simply the best of the best. They have met the challenge of adversity of belonging to a military family with courage and determination.

Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies company. We design, manufacture, and build military and commercial engines for aircraft flown all around the world. We have partnered with the DoD since our start in 1925. The US Navy was our first customer and we have powered aircraft for all of the US Services, most notably the F-22, F-35, KC-46 tanker, and B-21 bomber.

At Pratt & Whitney we have coined the phrase, "It's in our power." It has become our tagline since it is our engines that provide power to the aircraft. But for those of us who work there (some represented here tonight), it also means more than that. Much, much more ...

And I think it is appropriate to use that description here tonight when describing the award winners we are honoring. Award winners such as: Jamal Braxton, Henderson Heussner, Mary Kate Cooper, Jackson Beatty, Molly Frey, Alexander McGrath, and Sophie Bernstein. At a very early age, they have adopted the spirit of what "It's in our power" means.

Like it or not, military kids face adversity. As an Air Force reservist and father of four, I understand what it takes to move every couple of years, change schools, and have to make new friends in new neighborhoods, sometimes in different countries, while mom and dad serve our nation. And often times one or both parents is deployed on the other side of the world.

These seven honorees tonight and hundreds of others just like them are called to serve alongside their mom or dad who is in the military. It is part of the military culture that puts service above self, not just as a member of our profession of arms, but also on our families.

And despite all of the adversity they face, they understand that it is "in their power" to contribute; to take the initiative to make their life better; to make the lives of others around them better. To make the best of a challenging situation, regardless of what it may be.

So for these children, it is in their power - to see the glass half full rather than half empty. It is in their power to make lemonade out of lemons. It is in their power to challenge themselves and each other to rise above the difficulties they face, to tackle the challenges head on and power through obstacles to achieve their goal.

And these smart, resilient kids have done that in ways most of us haven't even imagined. They have accomplished more and helped more people in their first couple decades of life than many people do in a lifetime.

They have taken the phrase "It's in our power" literally and lived it out.

Tonight we (along with our other corporate sponsors) are pleased to salute all of you for the courage, talent, positive energy and inspiration you bring to those around you. Your power is infectious and we all are truly honored to celebrate with you tonight. From all of us at United Technologies and Pratt & Whitney … Congratulations!