VOD State Winner, Could Nationals Be Next?

Andy Huhn, Commander - 2/8/2024

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) are wrapping up its annual Patriot Pen and Voice of Democracy essay programs for the 2023-24 program year. VFW Post 4090 yet again had a strong showing for both contests. The Patriot’s Pen is open to 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students and the Voice of Democracy is open to students in grades 9-12. Any student participant must be enrolled in a public, private, or parochial school or home study program in the United States or its territories, or dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools.

Each year more than 73,000 students worldwide participate in the Patriot’s Pen essay contest. This year’s Patriot Pen theme was, "How Are You Inspired by America?" Judging is based on knowledge, theme development, and clarity. VFW Post 4090 received 64 entries this year, selecting three winners to advance to VFW Michigan District 9. Our Patriot Pen winners are Olivia Stahl, Isabel Anthony, and Jordyn Lansdell. District 9 received 32 entries from 11 posts, where Olivia Stahl placed 3rd. Congratulations Olivia!

Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been VFW’s premier scholarship program. Each year, nearly 27,000 high school students compete for more than $2 million in scholarships and incentives. This year’s audio-essay theme was, "What are the greatest attributes of our Democracy?” Judging is based on originality, clear content, and delivery. VFW 4090 received 105 entries, selecting six to move on to the district level: Eddy Holcomb, Isabelle Kissane, Hannah Weller, Siena Schafer, Kenzie Fedewa, and Katrina Chen. VFW Michigan District 9 received 21 Voice of Democracy entries from 12 posts. Congratulations to both Isabelle Kissane and Eddy Holcomb for placing at districts. Isabelle received 3rdplace, and Eddy took home 1st!


As the District 9 winner, Eddy was invited to the VFW Michigan Mid-Winter Conference held at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo on January 26-28. There, he was one of 24 students representing Patriot Pen and Voice of Democracy winners from all 12 districts in the Department of Michigan. During the awards banquet, Eddy was announced as the Department of Michigan VOD winner! He was awarded a $6,000 scholarship and an invitation to Washington D.C. as one of the 53 department winners. VFW 4090 will hold the VOD Michigan traveling trophy for one year, which is displayed at the post with a copy of Eddy’s essay. The national first place winner receives a $35,000 scholarship and will be decided at the 2024 VFW Washington Conference in Washington D.C. on March 4. BEST OF LUCK AT THE NATIONALS EDDY!