Eight local "young champions" spent Sunday surrounded by potential role models — men and women in uniform, members of the New York Air National Guard's 105th Airlift Wing.

But to the ones wearing the uniforms, the young champions are the role models, said Col. Timothy LaBarge, 105th Airlift Wing Commander.

"It's very much a special day for us, too," LaBarge told the honorees, their loved ones and program alumni during the 16th annual ceremony at Stewart Air National Guard Base in New Windsor.

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