‘America Inspires Me to Dream Big’

Arkansas VFW congratulates contest winners

Members of VFW Post 10417 Harrison, Arkansas, have been busy the past few months. On April 13, the Post’s annual celebration banquet was held to honor several individuals for their time and talents throughout the year.

Three middle-school students were recognized for winning top spots in the Patriot’s Pen essay contest.

VFW Post Buddy Poppy Drive
From left, Fred Gardmer, Billy Harris, Frank Brittich, Patrick Flenigan and Walmart managers April Diaz and Austin Vasquez gather at the Buddy Poppy booth on May 17 outside the Harrison, Ark., Walmart. The members of VFW Post 10417 in Lead Hill, Ark., distributed Buddy Poppies on May 17-18. The Harrison Walmart has long supported the Post’s endeavors.
Kayden Ann Loveday claimed first place with an essay that captures the essence of the American spirit, highlighting the diversity, freedoms and opportunities that define America.

In her essay, Loveday articulated how the courage and perseverance of America’s founders continue to inspire her. Loveday emphasized the importance of hard work and determination in achieving personal goals, which mirrors the dedication shown by those who shaped the nation's history.

“America inspires me to dream big, to work hard to achieve my goals like my ancestors who worked hard to make this country what it is today,” Loveday wrote. “I believe the land of the free and the home of the brave and that we are given all the opportunities to achieve our goals, and to become who and what we want to be America inspires me because of the welcoming diversity in our country, no matter your color, race or religion.”

Also at the VFW Post 10417 ceremony, Isaak Farmer received 3rd place and Phoebe Ann Shine, who was not present, received 2nd place.

Several students were recognized with awards for their creative masterpieces in the Auxiliary’s Creative Patriotic Art Contest, which included the 3-D category.

A few days after the banquet, members attended the grand opening of Boston Mountain Rural Health Center. The Post had previously contributed financially to ensure the center’s opening.

In May, the Post held its annual Buddy Poppy drive outside the Harrison Walmart. On May 17-18 volunteers set up shop to distribute Buddy Poppies and tell the VFW story.

VFW Post 10417 is one of thousands across the country working to make communities better and spread the good work of the VFW.

This article is featured in the 2024 June issue of Checkpoint.