Medford VFW Post 7677 hosts annual awards dinner

Commander Scott Lambert and members of Medford VFW Post 7677 held their 28th annual awards dinner in the post hall on Saturday, April 26. The post was chartered July 15, 1946.

Following opening ceremonies, there was a solemn reading of the names of past post commanders, past ladies auxiliary presidents and past men’s auxiliary presidents. They were recognized for their service to the post and to the surrounding communities.

Following an excellent buffet dinner, prepared by chef Ed Gerber, awards were presented to three individuals who have given exemplary community service to the community. This year they were chosen from the Medford Lakes Police, Fire and EMT departments.

First to be honored was police officer of the year, Greg Blash. Followed by firefighter of the year, Julian Vallery and then EMT of the year, Andi LaFleur. Certificate of appreciation plaques were awarded to each of these outstanding individuals.
Next to be honored were those who have won cash awards along with certificates of recognition for their participation in the VFW’s national patriotic essay programs.

The voice of democracy is an essay and speech competition for those of high school age. The national winner of the competition has a chance to win $30,000. Jacob Demree, of Mt. Laurel, won first place at the post level of the competition for the second time in two years. Michael “Trey” Mikulski, of Southampton placed second at the post level. Michael also took a third place at the county level. Highly commendable performances by each of these young gentlemen.

For students of middle school age, the patriot’s pen competition is an essay event.

The national winner of this competition can win $5,000. There were three winners at the post level. They received certificates and cash awards. Morgan Calabria, of Shamong, earned first place. Second place was awarded to Joseph Moniot of Shamong. Mark Oddo, of Shamong, took third place.

Earlier in the year the Walter Levy essay contest was run in the five elementary schools of Medford Township. Cash prizes and certificates were awarded at a school assembly to ten deserving young patriots.

Recognition and awards were presented to educators who have been supportive and instrumental in helping Medford VFW Post 7677 implement these exciting essay programs. Among those recognized were: Karen O’Neil, of Seneca High School, Cathy Campeau, of Indian Mills Middle School and Jen Petagno, of Medford Township Schools. Their support is much appreciated.

Themes for the voice of democracy and the patriot’s pen competitions have been announced for 2014–2015 competition. Participation by local schools is welcome and encouraged. Please contact the voice of democracy chair, Cliff Toye at (609) 744–3178 for more details. Information also available online at www.MedfordVFW.com.