Local Student Wins the PA VFW Statewide Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest

The Department of Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars celebrated the patriotism of Pennsylvania’s young people recently by announcing the winner of its annual statewide Patriot’s Pen essay contest for junior high students. Student Rory Decker—representing Honesdale VFW Post 531 and District 10 (Wayne and Lackawanna counties)—was crowned the VFW State Patriot’s Pen Champion and collected $1,000 for her VFW Department win and $750 for finishing in the top 25 nationally.

Decker was honored at the Department’s youth scholarship banquet held during the recently near Pittsburgh. She delivered her winning speech in front of 450 VFW and Auxiliary members.

Patriot's Pen is a nationwide VFW competition that gives students in grades 6, 7 and 8 the opportunity to

write essays sharing their views on democracy, patriotism and veterans service to America. The 2018-19 theme was “Why I Honor the American Flag.” The 2019-20 contest theme is “What Makes America Great.”

Each year more than 132,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $55,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level.

The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief.

Local post winners advance to the regional district contest before the top essay is chosen from districts winners. Students and teachers should contact their local VFW post for contest information or visit www.vfw.org, enter the “Community” navigation bar and choose “Youth Scholarships.”

In Pennsylvania, VFW organizations annually donate more than $13 million in financial donations and volunteer more than 15 million hours of community service. Local VFW Posts benefit their communities through support of programs that benefit youth, senior citizens, first responders, military personnel, less fortunate persons, veterans of all ages, students and teachers. VFW State Service Officers connected Pennsylvania veterans with more than $30 million in federal benefits last year as well as to many benefits offered through the state government.

Since the early 1990s, the VFW has been a critical supporter of every major piece of legislation that benefits veterans and their families, and uses legislative affairs staff in Washington, D.C. to continue advocating for those who have served America in the military and those doing so today.