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Salute to public safety
VFW honors who protect, serve
awards1  bowman chats JD
Fire Chief Danny Bowman, left, talks with U.S. Navy veteran Lamar Davis before the awards ceremony begins. - photo by Jim Dean
At a glance

The local VFW post presented the following awards Thursday:

• EMT of the year: Chris Black
• Law enforcement officer of the year: Christopher Palmer
• Firefighter of the year: Honor Guard
• Teacher of the year: Phyllis Singleton
• Patriot’s Pen essay: Kelly Scarrett, first place; Kenneth Easter, second; John Hendricks, third
• Voice of Democracy essay: Mary Singleton, first; Elisa Kirby, second; Taylor LeBaron, third
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9143 on Wednesday honored those who share the same missions and spirit as members of the organization.

The VFW recognized top public safety workers, whose fields presenter John Kepler noted have several parallels to military service.

“Be it EMT, firefighter or law enforcement, they share the same risk we as veterans have had to go through,” he said. “We had a mission, so do they.

“Their mission is to protect and serve the people of this community.”

All those honored expressed enthusiasm for what they do and an eagerness to continue.

“I love serving the people of Forsyth County, and I plan on doing it as long as I’m physically able,” said Christopher Palmer, who was named law enforcement officer of the year.

The Forsyth County Fire Department Honor Guard received the firefighter of the year award.

Kepler said the group “holds a lot of meaning to us” due to its skillful routines for patriotic presentations.

Younger members of the community were recognized for expressing patriotism in essays.

In the Patriots Pen essay contest, elementary and middle school students explored the right time to honor military heroes.

Second- and third-place winners Kenneth Easter and John Hendricks said they wrote that every day is a good day to recognize the sacrifices of service men and women.

“I feel that one day isn’t enough,” Hendricks said. “They go out there every day and do their job well.”

Hendricks said his father served in the military, which inspired him.

That type of inspiration was shared by one of the high school students honored in the post’s Voice of Democracy essay contest.

Second-place winner Elisa Kirby said her “Does America still have heroes?” essay was influenced by her father’s military service.

Kirby, who recently moved from Hawaii, said she thought about Pearl Harbor when starting her essay.

Hoyt Jordan, who presented the essay awards, said he saw more participation this year, which made selecting the winners more difficult.

Though she couldn’t attend, Mary Singleton received first place, which Jordan said made her a three-time honoree.

County level winners advance to the district competition. From there, they can move on to state and national levels, vying for saving bonds and scholarship money.

Jordan said the essay contest usually attracts county children who are active in many American celebrations.

“Kids that enter into this, you see them involved in other things,” he said. “They’re very patriotic kids.”

Donald Hughes closed the award ceremony with a nod toward the future.

“These are our leaders of tomorrow,” he said. “It’s always been a real great honor for me to be able to work with the kids of this county.”