Students honored by state VFW in Voice of Democracy essay contest

Courtesy photo Taking part in the recognition of state Voice of Democracy essay contest winners are (from left): PA VFW State Commander Thomas Brown, PA VFW Auxiliary VOD Chairwoman Marsha Fuhrman, students Nicholas Grube, Noah McCloskey, VOD state winner Haley Butina, Joshua Marzak, Christine Troll, PA VFW Auxiliary National Council Member Lynn Musselman and PA VFW VOD Chairman Glenn Owen.

The Department of Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States recently celebrated the patriotism of Pennsylvania’s high school students during the organization’s annual Voice of Democracy banquet in Pittsburgh.

Tyrone resident Haley Butina won the VFW patriotic essay contest.

A senior at Tyrone Area High School, she represented Post 4559 and VFW District 22, and represented the VFW Pennsylvania Department at the National VFW VOD Contest in Washington, where she finished in the top 20, competing for a $30,000 scholarship.

Other top five winners include:

Second place — Joshua Marzak of Danville, a senior at the Pennsylvania Leadership Cyber School, representing District 12 and Post 298.

Third place — Noah McCloskey of Cresson, a Pennsylvania Cyber School senior, representing District 26 and Post 7377 and its auxiliary.

Fourth place — Christine Troll of Somerset, a 10th-grade home-schooled student, representing District 23 and Post 554 and its Auxiliary.

Fifth place — Nicholas Grube of Kane, a senior at Kane Area High School, representing District 19 and Post 1132.

The VOD program allows high school students across the state-including home-school students-to compete in a speechwriting contest based on a patriotic theme.

The Department of PA VFW also sponsors the Patriot’s Pen essay contest for students in junior high school.

For more information about these contests visit or call your local VFW post to see if they are a program participant.

Consisting of 83,000 members in 450 local posts, Department of Pennsylvania is the largest state department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization. VFW posts and auxiliaries provide $2.5 million in college scholarships to high school students every year.

In Pennsylvania, VFW organizations donate more than $13 million and volunteer more than $15 million hours worth of community service annually.

Local VFW Posts benefit their communities through support of programs that benefit youth, senior citizens, military personnel, less fortunate persons, veterans of all ages, students and teachers.

The VFW has been a critical supporter of every major piece of legislation that benefits veterans and their families, and it uses staff in its legislative affairs office in Washington, D.C., to continue advocating for those who have served America in a military uniform and for those defending America today.