Tag Archive: voice of democracy

Post Recognized With Awards

District 1 Commander Don Wischman visited our July meeting to present the post with award certificates for accomplishments during the 2016-17year.

The Post earned awards at both District and National levels for:

Post Recognized With Awards

100% Reporting of Community Service
100% Hospital Reporting
Youth Essay Post Participation
Participation in the Scouting Program of VFW Outstanding support of USO, Veterans & Military Support Programs

Sponsorship and Promotion of local community activities.
The Citizen Education Teacher of the year Program

Patriots Pen
Voice of Democracy.

Post Recognizes Local Winners of National VFW Essay Contests

At the January Post meeting, we recognized several local students as winners in the annual National VFW Essay contest. One of those honored, Edmonds-Woodway High School student Olivia Olsen, won first place for the third year in a row.

 

Youth Essay ContestYouth Essay Contest

The theme for this year’s Youth Essay contest for grades 4 and 5 was “Why Are Men and Women Who Serve in the Military Special?” Winners were Finley Gonzales, a 4th grade student at Endeavour Elementary School and Margaret Moon, a 5th grade student at Mukilteo Elementary School. Runners up at this grade level who also attend Mukilteo Elementary School were Joel Brannon, Abbey Summerville, and Audrey Stewart. Two 5th graders, Trevor Coble and Ethan Jacobsen, who attend Brier Elementary School, were also selected as runners-up. Margaret was presented with a $100 scholarship from the Post, and each runner up received a $25 scholarship.

 

NL0217_Patriots_PenPatriot’s Pen Contest 

This contest is open for Middle school students in grades 6, 7, and 8, and the theme this year was “The America I Believe In.” The winning entry was submitted by Mohuwa Wahid, of Explorer Middle School. Mohuwa follows her sister, Lara, previously a two-time winner in this competition. She received a $100 scholarship. Sara Hatab of Olympic View Middle School was named runner-up. She received a $25 scholarship.

 

NL0217_Voice_of_DemocracyVoice of Democracy 

Edmonds-Woodway 11th grader Olivia Olsen garnered 1st place honors and a $100 scholarship in the Voice of Democracy contest. This essay contest is open to high school students in grades 9-12. While the Youth Essay and Patriot’s Pen competition requires a written essay, the Voice of Democracy competition requires the submission of an audio essay. This year’s topic was “My Responsibility to America.” Lara Wahid, a 9th grade student at Kamiak High School was awarded runner-up honors.

 

Each of the students who won their respective contests, read their essays to the nearly 80 parents, family members, and VFW members who were in attendance at the Jan. 10 meeting.

The post’s student essay competition is coordinated by Fred Apgar who also serves as post chaplain. The winning entries have been forwarded to Washington State VFW for consideration at the district and state levels.

VFW Student Essay Contest

By Fred M. Apgar

Details regarding the VFW Annual Student Essay Contest have been distributed to all schools in the Edmonds and Mukilteo School District. Students attending private schools or being home-schooled are eligible to enter the contest. The Youth Essay Program is for students in Grades 3, 4, and 5, and an essay, not to exceed 250 words, should address the topic ”Why are men and women who serve in the military special?”.

Students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 are eligible to enter the Patriot’s Pen program in which a 300-400 word written essay is written on the topic, “The America I Believe In”.

“Voice of Democracy” is the third program, and it is an audio essay contest for students in Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. To enter, a student must prepare a 3 to 5 minute recording that addresses the topic, “My Responsibility to America”. 

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three essay winners in each of the categories, and winning entries in each contest will be forwarded to the District level for further consideration.

Detailed instructions as well as an entry form, that must accompany each submission, can be obtained by visiting the Post’s web site at www.vfw8870.org. Go to the Community Support tab and click on Student Essay Program. You will be able to download the information for your grade level. All contest entries, along with the completed entry form must be submitted to VFW Post # 8870 no later than November 1, 2016. Youth Essay and Patriot Pen entries may be submitted on-line to scholarships@vfw8870.org or they can be mailed to VFW Post #8870, PO Box 701, Edmonds, WA 98020. Voice of Democracy entries must be mailed to the Post.

 

What Ever Happened To?

Katarina NguyenKatarina Nguyen is a talented young lady who was a three-time winner of the Patriot Pen contest while in Middle School, and won first-place honors in the Voice of Democracy for all four years of high school. She read her winning essays at Post meetings as well as the Memorial Day Ceremony. During her senior year, Katarina was awarded a Freedom Scholarship. She recently wrote to the Post to express her appreciation for what her involvement in VFW sponsored programs has meant to her.  

 

NL0716_Freedom-Scholarships_2

 

Dear VFW 8870, My name is Katarina Nguyen, a graduate from Edmonds Woodway High School in 2012. Throughout high school, I was highly involved with the VFW because I felt it was important for the younger generation to honor the Veterans that have made our freedoms possible. I would like to reach out and thank each and every one of you for your sacrifices to preserve our country’s freedom and thank you for encouraging me and allowing me to share your stories. It’s been a few years but I would like to reach out and thank you for helping shape my experiences during high school. It was an honor to speak at Memorial Day ceremonies each year as well as read my essays at your meetings. Because of you, our generation is able to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities we share and as a proud American, I sincerely thank you for all you have done.

Since graduating high school, I graduated college from Johns Hopkins University in 3 years and am currently Miss Washington Earth United States. I will compete for the national title of Miss Earth United States this summer and will attend medical school this fall. I was inspired to give back to the community by all of your sacrifices; although I cannot even begin to fathom the adversities you have endured for us, you have inspired me and motivated me to give back. You are selfless, brave heroes and to this day, when anyone asks me who my heroes are, I never hesitate to say that it is those that serve our country. Thank you.

Best regards,

Katarina Nguyen

Local Students Recognized in Patriot’s Pen & Voice of Democracy Competition

Commander Blossey Congratulates Student Winners

Commander Blossey Congratulates Student Winners

At the December 8, 2015 meeting we recognized area students who participated in the AnnualVFW Essay contest. The Post’s student essay competition is coordinated by Fred Apgar.

The theme for this year’s Youth Essay contest was “Why Is America My Favorite Country?” The winning essay for 5th grade was submitted by Chloe Lee of Mukilteo Elementary. Runners Up were Mohuwa Wahid, Ellie Choi, and Sabrina Windland, also from Mukilteo Elementary. Benjamin Hoang, of Terrace Park Elementary was also a runner-up. Chloe was presented with a $100 scholarship from the Post, and each Runner Up received a $25 scholarship.

Voice of Democracy Winner

Voice of Democracy Winner

For the second consecutive year, Olivia Olsen garnered first place honors and a $100 scholarship in the Voice of Democracy contest. This essay contest is open to high school students in grades 9-12. While the Youth Essay and Patriot’s Pen competition requires a written essay, the Voice of Democracy competition requires the submission of an audio essay. This year’s topic was, “My Vision for America”. Olivia is a 10th grade student at Edmonds-Woodway High School. Accompanying the Mukilteo Elementary School students were their teachers, Ms. Aina Green and Ms. Sue Idso. Supporting the students from Terrace Park School was their teacher, Ms. Lori Kutrich.

Prior to the presentation of awards and the reading of the winning entries, Olivia Olson led the Post members and guests in the Pledge of Allegiance. The winning entries have been forwarded to Washington State VFW for consideration at the district and state levels.

Post Receives Department Recognition

Post Receives Department Recognition

Representing the Department, Past Post and District 1 Commander, Jim Traner made several presentations to Commander Jim Blossey to recognize our Post’s achievements in various VFW programs. The Post newsletter continues to be one of the best in the State of Washington, receiving second place honors. In past years, our newsletter editor, Jim Traner, has been recognized as the best in the state. Post #8870 was recognized for its continual participation in and support of the Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy student essay competition, Scouting program, as well as the teacher recognition program. Our Surgeon, Al Boyett, was recognized for the efficient and timely reporting of our Community Service and Hospital reports, and similar recognition was afforded to Chaplain, Fred Apgar. Finally, our Post was recognized for its continued financial support of the USO at Sea-Tac.

Post to Recognize Teachers and Essay Winners

Just a heads up to mark your calendars to attend January’s Post meeting on the 9th. Every year we honor the winners of the Youth Essays, Patriot’s Pen, and Voice of Democracy as well as the Elementary, Middle School, and High School Teachers of the Year. We try and make this a special meeting for both students and teachers and your attendance will help us accomplish that goal.

Youth Essay

Youth Essay Contests

Voice of Democracy Contest

“In Serving in Our Military Is There Pride?” by Katarina Nguyen

“I’m sorry; you didn’t make it. I will live my life for you”.

The crumpled letter is overlooked, tucked away in the crevices of the Boots to Books Monument erected for soldiers; a message from one soldier to another: one hero to another. This soldier has spent his birthday surviving a surprise ambush; this soldier has witnessed his best friend being blown to pieces; this soldier has been through the fiery depths of near-death and has scratched his way back. These soldiers enlisted because it was their intrinsic duty towards their country; they enlisted to stop the inherent evils of the world; they enlisted for you and me, America. I’ve had the honor of speaking to soldiers from all walks of life. Their unanimous answer to my inquiry, “is there pride in serving in our military?” replays in my mind: “I have lost brothers and sisters, a part of my soul. But being there, for my family and my country, I am proud.” These soldiers are interwoven in an intricate tapestry of American pride, each thread a vibrant spark of red, white, and blue: the colors of freedom.

94 year old P-39 pilot Buck enters the room, with thick glasses perched on his wrinkled face. The colonel’s sunken eyes remain proud as he recollects his 137 flight missions during World War II: Smoke and flames choked the air as airplanes wildly spiraled downwards and out of control. Seeing the white, blossoming parachutes though, he knew some pilot was being saved. As the bursts swirled towards the ocean, a navy was waiting. Buck’s pride is apparent.

Tom saunters in; as a medic Staff Sergeant during the Korean War, he is an unsung hero. Tom whispers, “It overwhelms you: a three ton truck full of U.S. men, dead. The KIAs were stacked like cardboard until spring”. Tears threatened to spill for those he couldn’t save; he hasn’t cried in 30 years. He has saved lives, working through icy winters and blazing summers in the 23rd infantry of the second division. Despite everything, Tom’s pride is apparent.

Jim, a proud E-5 Sergeant, lost his best friend during the Vietnam War: Ron was only 19. Kevin lost 241 brothers and sisters, in a single terrorist attack in Lebanon. Peter was a fortunate survivor of an Iraqi suicide car bomb; he also missed his five-week old son growing up while serving in Afghanistan. James remembers the friends he lost in Europe from the Cold War. These soldiers have seen limbs blown apart and bodies strewn about amidst rapid gunfire and warfare, the fleeting image of their loved ones as their last thoughts. With each life lost, is the loss of a caring father, an optimistic boy scout, a quiet sister, a beloved American. Yet, amongst this loss is pride. Patriots fight in air, land, and sea, for you and me, America. They carry their hearts out onto the bloodied battle field and bear the burden of sacrifice to protect our proud nation.

We will perpetually set the sacred table: the bitter lemon wedge and salt grains of fate and tears, the vacant chair of loss, the delicate black napkin of captivity, the lone overturned glass of an uneaten meal, the pure white candle of peace, the single blood-red rose and the ribbon of hope, the rough grains of salt spelling out the word “hero”, all placed on the simple white tablecloth of a soldier’s pure heart. Our nation takes pride in honoring our heroes.

Throughout history, brave soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines -at home and abroad- have fought to protect our nation, our freedom, and our values. They continue to bear the uniform of the United States of America from the 235 years since our nation’s declaration of independence. It’s quixotic to believe that you and I could enjoy this sweet freedom without the blood, sweat, and tears and the unwavering determination of those serving in our military that we often take for granted. The pride arising from standing shoulder to shoulder with brothers and sisters in arms, under a single flag is immeasurable.

So, as the rain begins to fall and the wind picks up, the crinkled letter is swept away and the ink smears into bright multihued splotches. The soldier’s words fade away to join the soldier’s fallen friend, but his message is etched in my mind. Despite the loss, there is hope. Among the crevices springs life. In our military, there is pride.