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(Photo Gallery) – Hellsten and Munger honored by veterans at Christmas celebration


(Photos provided by Jerry Lainhart)

• Event includes VFW, American Legion and Auxiliary.


Over 125 veterans and their families gathered at the Thayne Community Center for the All Veterans of Foreign Wars Christmas Party.

Those attending included the Veterans of Foreign Wars Star Valley Post #4797 and Auxiliary, American Legion Afton Post #49, American Legion Alpine Post #46 and Auxiliary.

These Veterans Service Organizations serve veterans throughout Star Valley and the surrounding area.

The party included a meal of ham, baked potatoes, salad, rolls and cheese cake. There were three age groups in the  Christmas sweater contest for those attending. The Winner of the Adult Category was Jill Roberts, the Young Adult winner was Caden Roberts, the Child winner was HannaLee De Niz.

A short program was present to recognize the 2023 Student and Community fall contest winners. The winners of the student contests of the Patriots Pen Essay Contest and Voice of Democracy Audio Essay Contest were announced as: Jane Hellsten of Fairview winner of the 2023 Patriots Pen Essay Contest

Katheryn Munger of Thayne, winner of the 2023 Voice of Democracy Audio Essay Contest

Hellsten and Munger presented their essays to those in attendance and received standing ovations for their efforts. Their entries in these contests are now being judged in District and State as the VFW Contest continues towards Nationals.

Also recognized were the selected winners of the Teachers of the Year. This is a national contest were all entrants are selected through entries submitted to their local VFW post. These teacher winners were also recognized at the respective schools this week.

The winners are:

Barbara Bagley as the Grades K-5 Teacher of the Year, Scott Milne as the Grades 6-8 Teacher of the Year

These winners are also competing in District and State as the national teacher of the year contest continues.

The veterans and family members in attendance expressed appreciation to the Star Valley businesses for their generosity in providing door prizes as gifts for those in attendance.

The business in the valley contributed more than $1500 worth of products and services to the party.

VFW Post #4797 Commander Jerry Lainhart said, “it’s a great community that we live in that shows its appreciation to our veteran citizens through such generous gifts. It was my pleasure to be able to share those gifts with so many of our friends and neighbors in attendance at this party”.

Special recognition was given to three businesses and organizations for their special support as follow:

Thayne Family Dollar for matching contribution support for the Patriots Pen contest where each contest participant was given a gift card that could be used at any of the Valley’s Family Dollar stores.

Skyview Cinema and Lanes for matching contribution support for Voice of Democracy where each contest participant was given a gift certificate for their business.

Top of the Rockies Snowmachine Club for cash contributions for the All Veterans Christmas Party their contribution was used for cash prizes in the door prizes and Christmas sweater contests.

To be part of one of these organizations and help veterans here in Star Valley contact one of the following people:

• VFW Star Valley Post #4797 Commander, Jerry Lainhart 307-880-8887

• VFW Star Valley Post #4797 Auxiliary Roberts (307) 880-7420

American Legion Afton Post #49 Commander, Ty Campbell (307) 248-1437

• American Legion Alpine Post #46 Commander, Dennis Christianson (307) 880-4482

• American Legion Alpine Post #46 Auxiliary President, Tracey Martiny (907) 854-6825

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