U.S. Army Sgt. Eric Brenegan, Nikiski High graduate, distributes Alaskan t-shirts sent through the Red, White and Blue program to local village children in Iraq.
School is back in session, the 6th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack has past and Soldotna Mayor David Carey is again facilitating patriotic activities for community members of all ages. “For our fifth year, we are sending monthly packages and letters to our uniformed troops serving in harm’s way as part of the ‘Red, White & Blue Program.’ This month we are once again collecting canned or vacuum sealed smoked fish, for our 2007 Taste of Alaska drive,” announced Carey. The canned fish may be dropped off at Soldotna City Hall on Birch Street during the month of September. Only tin canned or vacuum sealed fish will be sent abroad, however glass canned fish will also be accepted but saved for local troops who return home on leave.
Carey says the fish will be sent to uniformed troops in military service, “We will be sending the fish on October 3rd to our troops, we have 64 people so far on our list and we are always open to adding more names and addresses of those in uniform serving our country. At the same time we are kicking off our card and letter writing drive from young people and adults to send cards and letters to our troops. I have been to 5 classes in the last week talking to kids of all ages about how important it is to send cards and letters to those serving. I have e-mails and letters from our deployed troops saying how much they look forward to reading and sharing with others the letters and cards they receive from our community,” said Carey.
The new flyer for the Red, White, & Blue program has a photo the mayor received from a Nikiski High School graduate, U.S. Army Sgt. Paratrooper Eric Brenegan that shows him surrounded by Iraqi children wearing the Alaska T-shirts that he had received through the local program. Brenegan graduated from Nikiski High in 1999 and is presently serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. “Children of all ages were given t-shirts from Alaska, and as you can see, it was a huge success, and we are especially grateful to the Rotary, Elks, American Legion, AmVets, VFW posts and our business community for their continued assistance in making this happen,” said Carey.
Additionally Carey is promoting an essay contest for 6th 8th graders through November 1st sponsored by VFW Post # 10046 known as the “Patriot’s Pen” contest. “This is a national awards contest with awards ranging from $10,000 - $1,000 dollar savings bonds. This year’s theme is ‘Why I am an American Patriot.’ Local prizes range from $300-$100 dollars with 1st place winning essays being forwarded to the State level of competition, and many of our local students have gone on to be national winners,” said Carey.
Also by November 1st 9th 12th graders may submit an original essay in the “Voice of Democracy Speech Contest.” This year’s theme is “My Role in Honoring America’s Veterans.” The top national prize is a $30,000 scholarship, with other prizes for local winners. Entries may be sent to Mayor Carey at the City of Soldotna, or Soldotna VFW Post #10046 before November 1st. For more information and applications stop by City Hall offices at 177 N. Birch Street, Soldotna, or the VFW Post #10046 in Soldotna. Red, White, & Blue program information is also available at the City’s website at www.ci.soldotna.ak.us
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