Lee Marts Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) Post 3571 and its auxiliary recently hosted the District 11 VFW and auxiliary quarterly meeting in Delta. One of the highlights of the meeting was a banquet luncheon honoring the winning students of the Voice of Democracy and Patriots Pen programs from District 11. VFW District 11 of Colorado includes Montrose Post 784, Hotchkiss Post 9333, Cedaredge Post 9221, Delta Post 3571, Clifton Post 4663, Grand Junction Posts 1247 and 3981, Rifle/Newcastle Post 9304 and Parachute Post 5485.
The Voice of Democracy contest is open to all high school students (grades 9-12) in the United States. The Patriots Pen contest is open to all middle school students (grades 6-8) in the United States. Each student who enters is required to write an essay about a patriotic topic, and in addition, the Voice of Democracy entrants must submit an oral rendition of their written essay. Local VFW posts arrange for local judging of the entries, with top winners forwarded to districts. District winners are forwarded to state, and state winners are forwarded to the national level. National winners receive up to $30,000 scholarships.
This year in the Voice of Democracy competition, the district placed Zach Shetler (sponsored by Post 1247 in Grand Junction) as third, Randi Rapke (sponsored by Post 9333 in Hotchkiss) as second, and Venicece Mitler (sponsored by Post 3981 in Grand Junction) as first. Mitler advanced to the Colorado state level, where she placed sixth.
In the Patriots Pen competition, the district placed Julia Carlson as third, Raylene McCurley as second and Maya Yost as first. All three were sponsored by Delta Post 3571, and Yost advanced to the Colorado state level, where she placed second.
Those winners present at the awards ceremony read their essays and received a certificate and a monetary award from District 11. VFW Department Adjutant Ron Lattin and Auxiliary Department Conductress Kathy Carlson were at the district meeting to present the awards to the winning students.