VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- For years there have been finalists out of Hampton Roads for the national "Military Child of the Year" award, but this year a Virginia Beach teen took home one of the top awards.
For most of his life, Roark Corson has always been passionate about serving others.
"Although my activities have been disparate, from environmental science research to mental health to working at the library, what they have in common is that they're a service to others," said Corson.
The need to serve runs in his family.
For more than 30 years, Corson's father, Caleb Corson, was in the Coast Guard. He was his first inspiration.
"As I grew up and I learned more in school, I understood what my dad was doing. Of course, as an American, I really value what he did and what his fellow servicemembers have done for our country," said Corson.
With his father's career as a platform, along with Roark's numerous years of volunteering and academic achievements, the Ocean Lakes high school senior entered the "Military Child of the Year Contest" and won.
He was awarded $10,000, along with other prizes.
"I want to raise awareness about what military children go through and show the strength and resolve of military kids," Corson said.
In his life, he's moved nearly 10 times.
In each new city, Roark found his footing and ways to get involved. His character was big in helping him find his place.
In Virginia Beach, he's been active and vocal about Youth Mental Illness, working with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the I Need a Lighthouse Foundation.
"I do that because I had two close friends die by suicide, and a lot of people at my school are affected by anxiety and depression. I see it in my entire life," he said.
His experiences have moved him. His family has shaped him. For that, the military child of the year doesn't see himself stopping anytime soon.
"Service to others is really the key in all these things and it's something I will pursue for the rest of my life," said Corson.
To see the rest of the winners, click here.