Russellville High School students received recognition Friday for their letters of appreciation to loved ones who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
OBB President Chris Jarboe and Vice President Don Hentges presented plaques and certificates to 14 Russellville High School students for scoring high in the “I’m Writing You This Letter” contest last year, the seventh year of the contest.
“These letters you’re writing mean a lot to me because you’re making sure the sacrifices we made don’t get forgotten,” Hentges, a Vietnam war veteran, told the students.
The students wrote letters of appreciation to relatives or friends, either living or no longer living, who served or are serving in the armed forces, to explain the impact their service had on them.
They sent the letters to their loved ones for Veterans Day in November and submitted copies of the letters to Operation Bugle Boy.
This is the first year Russellville High School has been a part of Operation Bugle Boy.
Jefferson City area students in grades 3-12 could participate in the contest.
Operation Bugle Boy received 175 submissions, and a committee selected one top winner from each category who will have a $100 donation made in their name to Central Missouri Honor Flight, a program for U.S. military veterans to visit war memorials in Washington, D.C.
The top winners are Connor Larimore and Kameron Hogue from Russellville High School, Chase Hewitt from St. Martin Catholic School, Sean Casey from Blair Oaks High School, and Abbey Fisher from Calvary Lutheran High School.
Other students from each school won certificates for scoring high in their category.
Before writing the letters, the students talked to their loved ones about their relatives or friends who served in the U.S. Armed Forces to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of their sacrifices and to keep their stories alive.
The purpose of this contest is to to “increase the understanding and appreciation young people have for the sacrifices of relatives who have served or are serving our country,” according to the contest guidelines.
“Operation Bugle Boy and EcoWater Systems want the memories of these veterans to always be remembered and serve as a source of inspiration,” the guidelines state. “These letter may very well become treasured family keepsakes.”