MASON — The “best of the best,” as chosen by the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W. Post 9926 of Mason, were honored Sunday during the post’s annual Loyalty Day Dinner.
A number of plaques and cash awards were presented, including J.D. Reynolds, Police Officer of the Year; Cecil Duncan, Firefighter of the Year; Catherine Hamm, Teacher of the Year; and Sean Evans, Boy Scout of the Year.
In addition, Isaiah Pauley was recognized as the post’s Voice of Democracy winner, and Addisyn Williams as the post’s Patriot’s Pen winner. Receiving the Eva Duncan Scholarship was Kaitlyn Gilkey, while Jake Horn was awarded the Ernest Ward Scholarship.
Bob Caruthers served as emcee of the event and presented certificates of achievement to several post members. He also recognized Jamie Crum, auxiliary president, Milford Mowrey, post commander, as well as guest speaker Kevin Light, West Virginia V.F.W. adjutant quartermaster, and his wife, Kim.
Light spoke about Loyalty Day and the ideals on which the country was founded. He told of the continued sacrifices of today’s military and applauded the comfort and aid given to them.
Light said people need to continue to demonstrate their commitment to members of the military. He spoke of the support given to veterans from the Mason area and from those living in surrounding areas. He praised not only the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, but also the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans associations.
He also noted of the 83 V.F.W. posts throughout the state, students from the area of the Stewart-Johnson post have shown the most support of the two student competitions, the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen.
V.F.W. member Ray Varian told those attending that the increased participation was due largely to Hamm, who has encouraged the teens at Wahama to participate. Varian said through the increased participation locally, it has spurred more teens statewide to enter.
At the end of his speech, Light was also presented a plaque of appreciation.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.