The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Meade Memorial Post 5172, along with the Greater Odenton Improvement Association (GOIA), are pleased to announce their selections for outstanding youth and adult citizens in the Odenton community for the year 2012. These citizens will be recognized at our annual awards ceremony, to be held on Wednesday, January 16th, at 7:30 PM in the community meeting room at the West County Library in Odenton.
GOIA Citizen of the Year - Joseph McCartan
The Greater Odenton Improvement Association is dedicated to improving the Odenton community. Its programs include civic meetings, support for community organizations, beautification, education, and citizenship. GOIA sponsors the annual Odenton Day festival and Christmas tree lighting events in Odenton.
GOIA is pleased to present its Citizen of the Year award to Joseph McCartan. “Joe Mac” as he is known, has been a fixture in the Odenton community for many years. He served in WWII as an Army Air Corps and US Air Force pilot. After settling in Odenton, he became involved in many of the community activities, including the Greater Odenton Improvement Association, where he served as president from 1980-1985. He also was an active member of the Odenton Kiwanis club, where he was involved in recognizing academic achievement in local schools. He served for many years as director of the MARC Train 5-Miler, and now serves as race director for the Odenton Day 5K. Joe is a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Meade Memorial Post 5172, where he continues to serve the community.
VFW Buddy Poppy
The Buddy Poppy Contest is held yearly in the state of Maryland to recognize the work done by disabled vets who assemble the buddy poppies for use by VFW organizations in collecting donations. These funds are used to assist the VFW National Home in Eaton Rapids MI, rehabilitation series in DC and MD, and to provide direct assistance to needy and disabled vets, their families, and widows and orphans of veterans.
The youth contestants answer a series of questions and recite the poem by John McCrae In Flanders Fields. They are judged on their accuracy, poise, personality and appearance.
1st place Nicholas Prieto
2nd place- Collen Herrmann
3rd place- Taylor Kuhns
VFW Loyalty Day
The Loyalty Day Contest is another VFW Department of Maryland youth contest to raise awareness of civic responsibilities and patriotism. Originally begun in the 1930’s to counter the advances of communism, today it also serves to promote loyalty and respect for our flag. The contestants answer a series of questions and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. They are also judged on their accuracy, poise, personality and appearance.
1st place Marybeth Nemecek
2nd place Kelly George
3rd place Max Downey
VFW Patriot’s Pen
Similar to the first two youth contests which are competitions at the state level, the Patriot’s Pen begins at the Post level, but in this case, winners can advance to the nationwide competition. The contest is open to middle school students in 6th -8th grade, and gives them an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on democracy… as well as to win scholarships. The 2012-2013 theme is “What I Would Tell America’s Founding Fathers”.
Students are judged on their knowledge of the theme, development of the theme, and clarity of their ideas. They are expected to demonstrate they have researched the issue and are asked to relate the theme to their own experiences.
1st place Carrie T. Shade
2nd place Becky N. Shade
3rd place Matthew Morell
VFW Voice of Democracy
The Voice of Democracy has been a VFW scholarship program since 1947. Each year more than 50,000 high school students compete for more than $2.3 million in scholarships. Students compete by writing and recording a broadcast script on a patriotic theme. This year’s theme is “Is Our Constitution Still Relevant?”
1st Place Marlette Sandoval
VFW Teacher of the Year
The Teacher of the Year is a national VFW competition to recognize America’s best citizenship educators. The VFW annually recognizes the nation’s top classroom elementary, junior high, and high school teachers who teach citizenship education topics, promote American history, traditions, and institutions effectively. Top candidates are those who promote civic responsibility, flag etiquette, patriotism, and foster the development of democratic values and beliefs through special projects.
Mrs. Renee Von Behern, who teaches 6th and 8th grade Social Studies at School of the Incarnation, founded the social studies club, “We the People” and prepares SOTI students for the annual Geography Bee. She has planned and implemented mock elections so that students have an understanding of the election process. To stress the importance of service to others as an individual and collective civic responsibility, she also organizes the school-wide cereal drive which enables SOTI students to donate nearly a thousand boxes of cereal each year to area food pantries. Additionally, Mrs. Von Behern plans the yearly Veterans’ Day assembly to honor men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, recruiting guest speakers from among the family members of SOTI students. The older students participate in the contests, and the elementary grade students participate in the poster contest depicting a patriotic theme. As a veteran herself, Renee is a wonderful role model for her students and a worthy candidate for the VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award.
VFW Outstanding Firefighter of the Year
Captain Mark Telfer has been a member of the Odenton Volunteer Fire Company for over 12 years. He has been an invaluable resource for the fire company in both operational and administrative roles. He joined OVFC while still on active duty in the US Navy and is certified as a Fire Officer III, Rescue Technician, Aerial Apparatus Operator, and Pump Operator; operates the Fire Engines and Ladder Truck, and was recognized as a Fire Apparatus Driver Operator. Mark has been responsible for many of the community outreach efforts, leading the Bull Roast Committee, Crab Feast committee, and the Annual Carnival cooking for the last 8 years. With the revenue raised from these community events, Mark helped to design, efficiently construct the operational layout, and purchase a new fire engine to replace aging equipment. Mark has spent countless hours as a volunteer serving his community responding to emergency calls and providing training to his peers.
VFW Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year
Officer Nathaniel Hollis joined the Anne Arundel County Police Department in January 2010, and has been a member of the Western District, Midnight Platoon for the past year. From January to November, Officer Hollis made 113 arrests, 22 of which were DWI, 57 were traffic related, and 34 were criminal. Particularly noteworthy were his investigation and subsequent apprehension and arrest of four suspects charged with 1st degree armed robbery of the 7-11 on Annapolis Road. Due to his diligence, dedication, and expert field work, Officer Hollis was credited with keeping extremely dangerous criminals off the street, protecting the citizens of our community, and serving as an example of a selfless citizen-servant. For his service and exemplary performance, officer Nate Hollis is our Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.