VFW honors students, teachers

By Pat Sunderland

Members of Delta's Lee Marts Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #3571 and auxiliary gathered with friends for their annual Christmas banquet on Dec. 4 and to honor patriotic writing by local students.

Three Delta Middle School students read winning entries in the Patriot Pen's program, a youth essay contest conducted nationwide by VFW. This year's theme was "America's Gift to My Generation."

After reading their essays, Ryetta Davis, Hazel Lancaster and Sarah Teel each introduced their family members and accepted honorary certificates from VFW Post #3571 Commander Corky Ware.

The middle school students were followed by Voice of Democracy winners Carisa Rhiness, Delta High School, and James Davis, Vision Charter Academy.

The purpose of the program, as well as the Voice of Democracy contest for high school students, is to encourage good citizenship and foster patriotism.

Both contests provide opportunities for young writers to earn scholarships by advancing to the district, state and national levels of competition.

The VFW also recognized the teachers who instill a love of learning and make a lasting impression on their students. Nominations were sought from all the schools in Delta. The principals' glowing recommendations were read as each teacher was brought forward. Recipients included Jaime Ogden, who teaches math/technology skills to Garnet Mesa Elementary School students; Mark Bruton, a physical education teacher who encourages Lincoln Elementary School to lead healthier lives; Jennifer Mayrose, a language arts teacher at Delta Middle School; Paul Shean, a teacher and coach at Delta High School; and Cristen Chermak, a kindergarten teacher at Vision Charter Academy, as well as a piano and 4-H sewing instructor who admits she has a hard time saying no.

The program concluded with a special presentation to Hank Lohmeyer, a reporter who recently retired from the Delta County Independent, by Jim and Sandy Baker, who handle publicity for the post and the auxiliary. Lohmeyer was honored for his years of dedicated service in helping to keep the community aware of the activities of the post, auxiliary and other veterans organizations in Delta County.

"Hank donated hundreds of hours of his time to attend and report on the ceremonies honoring the youth, teachers and first responders of Delta, and the memorial services on many Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Patriot Day, Pearl Harbor Day and other patriotic occasions," his certificate noted.

Sandy Baker joked that the promise of a free meal always guaranteed Lohmeyer's attendance at VFW functions.