VFW honors Patriot Pen winners
Students wrote essays on veterans
When Elijah Lawrence sat down to write an essay about veterans, he was inspired by relatives who served in the military, including one who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Mya Zdrazil was motivated by her respect for everything veterans have done for her country when she wrote her essay.
The two Community Christian School students were among the winners of the annual Patriots Pen contest conducted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1856 in Fort Dodge.
The first, second and third place prizes were announced Wednesday evening at the VFW post.
The first place award went to Kieler Smith, an eighth grader at Community Christian School. Because he was ill Wednesday, he was not present to receive the award from VFW leaders.
He will receive a framed certificate and $100.
Roger Simonson, who coordinates the annual contest for the VFW, said Smith’s essay has been advanced to a district level competition that includes entries from 10 VFW posts.
Lawrence, also an eighth grader at Community Christian School, won second place. He received a framed certificate and $50.
Zdrazil, a seventh-grader at Community Christian School, won third place. She received a framed certificate and $25.
The students were challenged to write an essay entitled “My promise to veterans.”
“I just thought of my great-uncle,” Lawrence said.
His great uncle, George Bendick Jr., died while serving in the Army.
One of his great-grandfathers, Bill Lawrence, survived the Dec. 7. 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that thrust the United States into World War II.
Another great-grandfather, George Bendick, also served in the military.
Zdrazil said “just thinking about what all the veterans did” helped her write her essay.
She said she worked on her essay over the course of two days.
The Patriots Pen competition, held every fall, is open to sixth, seventh and eighth graders.