VFW Aux Group photo

Front row, from left, are: Burke Malmberg, Cole Komara and Jahnavi Kampella.

Back row, from left, are: Joel Steele, Auxiliary Youth and Scholarship chairman; Audry Morris, Auxiliary member; Roger Ingall, Auxiliary president; Brenda Williams, Auxiliary junior vice; and Juliene Crowe, Auxiliary treasurer.

Kathy Ingall, Auxiliary videographer, is not pictured.

The VFW Post 8189 is pleased to announce that Cole Komara, a Crystal River High School student, was named the Post’s first-place winner of the 2020-2021 Voice of Democracy Scholarship program.

Burke Malmberg placed second and Jahnavi Kampella placed third.

This year’s Voice of Democracy theme was "Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?"

"This year we had eight participants, so the judging was tough," said Scholarship Chairman Joel Steele.

The Auxiliary presented a check for $150 on behalf of the Post, a check from the Auxiliary for $75 and a certificate of participation to Komara as a reward for his efforts. Malmberg and Kampella also received monetary awards from the Post and Auxiliary, as well as certificates.

Komara’s essay will go to VFW District 7 for judging and the winner of that will go on to the Department of Florida for judging and that winner will compete at the national level for individual awards.

The Voice of Democracy competition provides high school students with the opportunity to speak out on freedom and democracy and the program has been popular and successful since 1947.

The Voice of Democracy is a worldwide audio essay competition that requires entrants to write and record a three to five minute essay on a patriotic-based theme.

Hundreds of students participated in the competition this year. If chosen as one of 53 finalists worldwide, Komara would travel to Washington, D.C., and compete at the national level for the first-place prize of a $30,000 college scholarship.

The National Association of Broadcasters started the Voice of Democracy Scholarship program in 1947. The VFW became a national sponsor in the late 1950s and assumed sole responsibility for the program in 1961. The competition was created to provide students the opportunity to express themselves in regard to democratic ideas and principles. Around 40,000 students participate in the competition each year and VFW awards more than $2.1 million in scholarships every year.

Front Row L to R: Burke Malmberg, Cole Komara and Jahnavi Kampella.
Back Row L to R: Auxiliary Youth & Scholarship Chairman Joel Steele, Auxiliary member Audry Morris, Auxiliary President Roger Ingall, Auxiliary Jr. Vice Brenda Williams, Auxiliary Treasurer Juliene Crowe. Not in the picture: Auxiliary Videographer Kathy Ingall.

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