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Veterans Award Students, Honor Public Servants


The local branch of the Veterans of Foreign Wars recently awarded the winners of their Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy contests, as well as honoring their local Public Servants of the Year.

The Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen programs are an annual nationwide scholarship programs sponsored by the VFW. The Voice of Democracy is an audio-essay contest for high school students in grades 9-12. The program annually provides more than $2.3 million in scholarships.

On the local level, Christopher Thompson of Mena High School won and received a $600 cash prize. He will move on to the state competition level with hopes to win and move on to the national level. Coming in second place was Lindsey Logan of Mena High School who received a $500 cash prize. Third place was awarded to Makenna Goss of Acorn High School who received $400.

The Patriot’s Pen contest is an essay contest held for students in 6th through 8th grades. Locally, Allison Bates of Mena Middle School was awarded first place, winning a prize of $400. Brenna Smith of Mena Middle School won second place and a check for $300. Coming in third was Avery Powell of Mena Middle School winning $200.

Also at the meeting, the VFW honored their Public Servants of the Year. Chief Deputy of the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, Randy Jewell, was honored with the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award. Dan Hostetler was given the Firefighter of the Year award and Tony Baughman was given the EMS Worker of the Year.

And, last but not least, for her patriotic spirit and engaging students in the classroom, Mrs. Karen Parnell of Mena High School was awarded the VFW Teacher of the Year Award.

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