Local Seventh-Grader & Teacher Recognized For Honoring Veterans

CRAWFORD COUNTY (KFSM) -- A student from Butterfield Trail Middle School in Van Buren and a teacher from Alma High School are both receiving awards from the Arkansas Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) are now headed to the national level for their honors.

An essay with 352 words about the brave men and women who serve America is what seventh-grader Katelyn KingĀ  thinks is America's gift to her generation.

"I wanted to write it because it is something that's true," King said. "Our great nation is amazing and I love the history and I just wanted to respect the country's men and women that serve and write about them."

For this piece, King was awarded first place in the Arkansas VFW's Patriot's Pen Essay Competition. But that's not the last time King's essay will be read.

"I go to Nationals and if I get a letter back, I won nationals," King said. "If I win, I get to go to Washington, D.C. and accept my award there."

King isn't the only one receiving an award, though. Senior Chief Petty Officer Troy Peel, an ROTC instructor at Alma High School won the Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year Award from the Van Buren VFW Post.

"I'm speechless," Peel said. "That's hard to do for me. I usually have plenty to say about anything other than myself."

The award was a shock for the naval science instructor. Peel said he didn't know he was in the running for the award.

"Someone nomimated me somewhere down the line," Peel said. "I didn't even know the nomination went in. It's been humbling. It's been quite an honor."

Next, King will join students from every state to compete for the national essay writing contest. If she wins, she will go to Washington, D.C. to receive her award along with $5,000.

Peel will go to the state level next to compete for the Teacher of the Year Award and he'll also be considered for the national award, too.