The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4706 and Ladies Auxillary in Decatur respectively marked its 53rd and 52nd anniversaries by honoring five student essay winners, two community leaders and Tuskeegee Airman Val Archer, the program's guest speaker.
Congressman Hank Johnson and his wife, Attorney Mereda Davis Johnson also were recognized for attending the Feb. 22 event.
"We are delighted that they (Congressman Johnson and his wife) took time out of their busy schedule to attend," said Post 4706 Commander Harold Roberts said. "We appreciate the support the Congressman gives to veterans."
Roberts also said he was proud of this year's participants in the VFW's essay contest, all of whom worked hard on their submissions, which had to be typed and audio taped.
"I was very pleased with the number of participants that we had and the winners that we ended up with were outstanding," Roberts said.
Each year, nearly 40,000 high school students from across the country enter to compete for a share of the $2.2 million in educational scholarships awarded through the VFW’s Voice of Democracy program. At the local level, students in grades 9-12 submit essays that express democratic ideas and principles and then advance to state and national levels.
The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. Other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first-place winner from each (State) VFW Department wins an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
Middle school students in grades 6-8 also have the chance to compete for awards and prizes at the local, district and state level in the Patriot's Pen essay contest. All of the VFW scholarship programs are open to students in public, private and home schools.