Each year, the American Legion Auxiliary sponsors an Americanism essay contest for students in grades 3-12. Grade levels are divided into six classes. One award in each of the six classes is presented in each division. Winners receive $50, and a $50 donation in the student’s name is made to the Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship fund.

The essay title for this year was “How can we address the health and well-being of our veterans, military, and their families.”

Our Cashmere Auxiliary received two essays from Vale Elementary. We just received word that Sadie Lindsay, a Vale third grader, won the Washington state award for her essay. Her teacher was Dawn Pace. She has received her certificate and $50 check from the Department of Washington chairman. We are so proud of her. Here is her essay.

“Taking care of our veterans, active military and their families should be a priority for our government and us citizens. Because of these selfless people we enjoy living in the greatest country on earth. Because of them, I live with my family in freedom and have the freedom to write this essay. In other words — we owe them our all.

When a soldier is deployed his or her family is left to carry on. This means the spouse makes all decisions including the hardest of all and that is not further burdening the soldier with many things going on at home that could distract from their mission. I believe we need to support these families as much as we possibly can. One possibility is setting up counseling for the families left at home and also scholarships so the parents do not have to worry about how to educate their kids on a soldier’s pay. Also, most companies give hiring preference to the veterans but how about hiring preference to the immediate family members. This might enable a spouse to get a good job to supplement the family income and thereby allowing themselves an outlet. When a child graduates from high school and decides to either further their education by way of college or a trade school or maybe they choose to immediately jump into the workforce — having scholarships in place or preferential hiring could enable them to become successful in their chosen career.

As far as the health and well-being of veterans, I believe they should be entitled to health benefits from any clinic or hospital they choose. A veteran should not have to travel sometimes hundreds of miles to get treatment. After all they are the ones that already traveled sometimes thousands of miles to ensure our freedom and see whatever doctor we choose.

I also would like to see more travel and vacation businesses allow veterans and their families to stay at discount rates or even for free. We all know that taking a restful vacation is good for the body and soul.

These veterans are our country’s greatest asset and should be treated as such.”

— Sadie Lindsay,

Vale Elementary, third grade

Linda Ingraham is president of the Cashmere American Legion Auxiliary No. 64.