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Veterans Corner: Thank you to the community!

Sequim Gazette - 1/10/2024

Here in Washington state, the American Legion conducts Evergreen Boys State to help young men just finishing their junior year of high school learn about government and leadership.

It's a week-long intensive hands-on civics lesson where high school students create and run their own mock government. It also teaches them about the democratic process, leadership skills, and the importance of being active and engaged citizens. The goal is to prepare these young men to be responsible and informed members of their community, state and nation in the future.

Evergreen Boys State is a great way for them to develop a deeper understanding of how government works and to inspire them to become future leaders. This year's program will be held the week of June 16-22 at Warm Beach Conference Center in Stanwood. Registration for the program is now open. Please visit the website for more information about the program at evergreenboysstate.org.

Toys for Tots has great year

The Mount Olympus Detachment 897 of the Marine Corps League is proud to announce another successful Toys for Tots campaign for 2023. Well done and a huge thank you to all the volunteer help that made it all happen and all those who donated toys or money.

A very special thank you to 2023 Toys for Tots Coordinator Nancy Zimmermann and her husband Ron.

Honor Guard for services

The Detachment Honor Guard has been providing final military honors to deceased veterans for almost 20 years. The honors are provided at no cost when requested by the veterans family. Requests can be made through the Northwest Veterans Resource Center at 1-360-797-1791.

In the beginning, there were 12 volunteer members of the Honor Guard. There was never a problem with fielding seven shooters. Currently we have six active Honor Guard members, and we are recruiting new volunteer members.

Membership is not limited to Marines only; associate members, those who have served in other branches of the military are eligible to join. Those interested can contact Detachment Commandant Mark Schildknecht at 360-460-7585.

Essay winners

Congratulations to this year's local winners in the VFW essay contest. The youth essay themes change each year, but they are always around Americanism, defined as an unfailing love of country, loyalty to its institutions and ideals, eagerness to defend it against all enemies, undivided allegiance to the flag and a desire to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and future generations.

Sequim VFW Post 4760 winners were Calliope Mosher for Voice of Democracy (high school) and Lorellie Welch for Patriot Pen (middle school); Welch also won the Patriot Pen at the District level for eighth grade. Honorable mention for Patriot Pen went to Lilianna Newberg and Kayleigh Sargent.

Mosher won the Voice of Democracy at the district level and is advancing to the state competition.

In addition, the Sequim VFW awarded its Teacher of the Year for 2023 to Katie Salmon-Newton. Carlsborg VFW Post 6787 awarded its first place Patriot Pen award to Mya Callis.

Wreaths across the region, nation

National Wreaths Across America Day 2023 took place at 4,225 participating locations across the country and locally at 11 cemeteries from Gardiner to Forks. Our heroes were remembered and honored as volunteers safely placed more than three million veterans' wreaths on headstones nationwide while saying each name aloud, so they are not forgotten.

Locally, volunteers placed 2412 wreaths on Saturday, Dec. 16.

In the same way veterans are honored on Wreaths Across America Day, their communities are also honored through a process that's come to be known as Wreath Retirement.

Wreath retirement entails asking local volunteers for help for a second time by returning to cemeteries to clean up after Wreaths Across America Day and recycle the live balsam wreaths by taking them apart at Lazy J Tree Farm, 225 Gehrke Road (between Sequim and Port Angeles) at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13.

Please join local WAA volunteers for this year's wreath pick-up at two cemeteries: Sequim View Cemetery (at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, and 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at Mount Angeles Memorial Park).

Members of the Michael Trebert Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution would like to thank all the dedicated volunteers for their incredible commitment to the mission throughout 2023. From the local volunteers, local officials, professional truck drivers, and many more, each person has played an essential part in the mission to "Remember the fallen, Honor those who serve, and Teach the next generation the value of freedom."

Save the date: Dec. 14, 2024, is the next Wreaths Across America.

Contributors: American Legion, Carl Bradshaw, grennanalpost62@gmail.com; DAR and MOAA, Lorri Gilchrist, cdrlgilchrist@gmail.com; Voices For Veterans, Rita Frangionerita.frangione@gmail.comMarine Corps League, Mark Schildknecht, markisin2day@gmail.com; Korean War Veterans, Jerry Rettela, eletteor@msn.com; VFW 4760, Steve Henrikson, secretary.@vfwpost4760.com ; VFW 6787, Rod Lee, sealteam120473@gmail.com, Fleet Reserve, Paul Rogers, paul.rogers5@comcast.net.