This year marks the 76th anniversary of the establishment of Delta's Lee Marts Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #3571 and Ladies Auxiliary. And, on Dec. 10, the Post and Auxiliary members renewed a tradition of many decades by honoring student achievement and teachers in the community.
The Post's annual Christmas potluck supper was the setting for honors that the local VFW gave to winners in its Voice of Democracy writing contest for high school students, and to winners in its Patriot Pen writing contest for middle school students.
Three teachers were also singled out for their excellence and contributions to the community; one each from the elementary school level, middle school, and high school.
The Voice of Democracy winners were Jeremiah Baier, first place; Julie Stinson, second place; and Holly Murdock, third place.
The Patriot Pen winners were Sami Wollert, first place; Alexia B. Quinn, second place, and Jaspar Charmichael third place.
The theme for the Voice of Democracy contest was "Is our Constitution still relevant?" The Patriot Pen theme was "What would you tell our Founding Fathers?"
Teachers honored by the Post and Auxiliary this year were Christy Coutts, a second grade teacher at Garnet Mesa Elementary School; Holly Mautz, an information resources instructor at Delta Middle School; and 1st. Sgt. J.B. Lopez who advises and instructs students in the Delta High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
The awards were presented by Mike and Linda Stahly of Delta who have emceed the event for many years. This year, Mike is serving as the VFW District 11 commander. The district covers 10 posts in Delta, Gunnison, and Montrose counties. Linda is serving as senior vice-president for the state VFW Auxiliary organization.
The Stahlys were assisted in the presentations by Dave Rowland, post commander, and by Lucy Orros, local auxiliary president.
Some 50 post members, honorees, families and guests attended the event at the Delta Odd Fellows Hall.
This year 194 students entered their essays in the Patriot Pen contest and 102 submitted work for the Voice of Democracy.