By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
Eighth grader Lillian Godi took her Patriot’s Pen essay “My Pledge to Our Veterans” all the way to the VFW State Department level competition on December 1, where she was a runner up to compete at the VFW National level.
Godi received a Youth Essay Certificate of Merit from the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and its Auxiliary on Thursday, February 23, for her first place win at the VFW Regional District 18 level on November 15. She received a $100 prize at this level, competing against students from other communities, including Lebanon, West Plains, Mtn. View, Alton, Ava, Summersville, Houston and Cabool.
Godi was only one step away from competing at the VFW National level and a trip to Washington D.C., and received $125 for her runner up position. There is only one state winner for each of the 50 states.
Educator and Licking VFW Post #6337 Commander Billie Krewson recognized her achievements in an assembly of her junior high school peers, faculty (which included competition faculty supervisor Katrina Tillery), and her very proud parents, John and Haley, and grandfather, Mike Godi.
Krewson presented Godi with a certificate that stated, “In recognition of excellence in the Patriot’s Pen Youth Essay Competition, you have been designated AN OUTSTANDING SPOKESPERSON OF THE FUTURE.”
With a population of 336 million, there are currently 1.3 million in the Armed Forces and 19 million veterans that fought for and supported our country, Krewson shared. He later questioned the students on the definition of a patriot and of a democracy.
Submissions at the local level were due October 31. Godi won first place for Licking R-VIII at the Local VFW Post level competition held in January, winning a $75 prize and a VFW award keychain. She was one of 75 participants from the Licking, Houston and Raymondville school districts. Nationwide, nearly 69,000 students participated at the local level.