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VFW post hails efforts of students, public servants
VFW Post 9143 member John Kepler, right, presents the Forsyth County Fire Department’s Matthew Suggs, left, and Jack Tribble Jr. with the post’s firemen award for 2014. - photo by Crystal Ledford

CUMMING -- Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9143 honored several residents who serve active duty and retired military personnel, as well as the community at large, during their annual awards banquet Wednesday night.

Awards were presented to several area students and members of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s and Fire departments during the event, which was held at the post off Dahlonega Highway.

Sheriff’s Cpl. Matt Starr received the post’s law enforcement award after being nominated for general excellence in his field.

“He is a model deputy who is looked upon as a leader, has great moral character on and off duty, and is active in the community,” said Sheriff’s Maj. Rick Doyle.

Three members of the fire department’s equipment maintenance section — chief mechanic Matthew Suggs, senior vehicle technician Jack Tribble Jr., and vehicle equipment technician Audie Lord — also were honored.

The maintenance section, whose job is to ensure fire trucks are up and running no matter the conditions, was recognized for its efforts during recent winter storms.

Students from Dawson and Forsyth County who placed first, second or third in the post’s Patriots’ Pen essay and Voice of Democracy speech contests also were recognized.

Patriots’ Pen winners from Dawson were: Marley E. Hamby, third place; Elijah J. Elliot, second; and William S. Goble, first.

Goble also won first place in district level competition.

From Forsyth, Patriots’ Pen winners were: Isabella G. Morobito, third; Marissa Michelle Flowers, second; and Alexandra Lauren Kimball, first.

All the essay winners received certificates, medals and pens. Third-place writers also received $75, while second earned $100 and first $200.

Forsyth Voice of Democracy contest winners were: Zackary J. Stuermer, third place; Mary C. Crosby, second; and Lyndsey C. Upton, first.

They also received certificates, medals and the varying levels of cash awards.

Also during the banquet, student leaders of Change 4 Georgia, a nonprofit that sends basic needs items to soldiers and sailors serving overseas, were honored.

President and founder of the organization, Remington Youngblood, and vice president Grace Ann Carlson and secretary Margaret Walker received certificates for their efforts in supporting service men and women.

The student leaders also presented their own awards to several local businesses that have supported the organization. Among them: Fresh Market; Citrusolution; OneSpring LLC; CPA Kenneth Rogers; The Chocolaterie; Real estate agent Florin Popescu; Home Depot store 147; and Billy Howell Ford.

The final award of the evening went to Matthew McClelland, a member of Boy Scout Troop 39, which the VFW post sponsors.

McClelland was honored for being the only scout in the troop to have earned the rank of Eagle during the past year.