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VFW Post 5377 gives student, first responder awards

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5377 held an awards ceremony recently and honored two local students and two local emergency responders.

The VFW holds a contest each year for middle school students and another for high school students. James “Trey” Etheridge from Demopolis Middle School won the Post 5377 award as well as the VFW District 6 award in the “Patriot’s Pen” contest. This essay-writing contest is open to students in sixth through eighth-grade. He was given $50 in cash from the local post as well as from the district. He also received a certificate of merit.

At the high school level, students can participate in the “Voice of Democracy” audio-essay contest. Rachel England from Demopolis High School received a certificate of merit from Post 5377 in the contest.

“This is a great program to teach young people about patriotism,” said Phillip Spence, a member of VFW Post 5377. “It also gives us the opportunity to learn what young people see patriotism as today.”

If students are selected to win at the state level, they will go on to the national competition in Washington, D.C., to be eligible for more awards and prizes.

The Post also recognized two emergency responders during the ceremony as well. Demopolis Fire Department Battalion Chief Talmus Williams Jr., was named a Post and District 6 winner for his emergency response work. He was given a $50 gift certificate and a certificate of merit.

Demopolis Police Department Officer Paul Foster was awarded the J. Edgar Hoover Award by the Post. He was also given a $50 gift certificate and a certificate of merit.

“These awards are to recognize people who put the community above the safety of themselves,” Spence said.