517-485-9456 Post Locations  Email    Join Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter
Home  |  About Us  | Officers  |  Resources  |  Programs  |  Directory  |  News & Events  Gallery  |  Membership  |  FAQ's  |  Contact Us



President Kennedy said once "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." There are few ways less noble to serve our country than through the military. The courage and strength that you all exude are qualities which deserve only our highest gratitude. I cannot thank you enough for what you have done.


Patriot's Pen



2016-2017 "PATRIOT’S PEN” ESSAY Program



All information pertaining to the theme, judging, eligibility, awards and other aspects of this program are contained in the Veterans of Foreign Wars program booklet for the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program.  District Chairmen are responsible to ensure that their District programs are conducted within these rules and deadlines.  District Chairmen are solely responsible for the conduct of the program within their Districts.  Make sure that you distribute copies of your program to all Posts in your District in sufficient time to ensure a successful competition. 


The Patriot’s Pen Essay Program is a joint program with the VFW Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Michigan. The Auxiliary does not need the permission of a Post to participate in the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program.  Post and District Chairmen are expected to include their VFW Auxiliary counterparts in all activities concerning the conduct of local and District programs. Coordination of the District program is the sole responsibility of each District Chairman.  Post Chairmen must refer to their District program for their District program requirements and deadline dates. 


THEME:  "The America I Believe In”


Eligibility:  Sixth (6th), Seventh (7th) and Eighth (8th) grade students in public, private, parochial and home schools in the State of Michigan.  Former first place winners at the State and National level competition or any foreign exchange student are not eligible.  Students do not have to be a relative of a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars or its VFW Auxiliary to participate. 


ESSAY: Essays must be typed or computer printed in English, between 300-400 words, on a single sheet of paper, with no added color or art.     


Entries:                                                           Posts


To receive credit for participation in the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program, a Post MUST SPONSOR THE PROGRAM IN THEIR COMMUNITY.  While it is important to offer the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program in our schools, it is not solely a program for the schools.  You may offer the competition to any sixth, seventh or eighth grade student.  Foreign exchange students are not eligible.  All entries MUST be submitted directly to the Post. They may be sponsored through local schools, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Church youth groups, Junior ROTC programs, etc. The Post is encouraged to solicit participants from as many sources as possible. 


The Post will hold their own judging and may submit to District the number of students permitted by the following breakdown. 

            School Release Form 2016- 2017.pdf

            Student Bio 2016-2017.pdf

            Student Entry Form 2017

1-15 student participants = 1 top Post entry is allowed to advance to District

16-30 student participants = 2 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District

31-45 student participants = 3 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District

46-60 student participants = 4 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District

61-75 student participants = 5 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District



Posts may advance as many winners as they select based on the total number of students participating.  Post judging is the responsibility of the Post Chairman and must be conducted in accordance with the National Judging Criteria. 


The Post may forward each 1st place winning entry to District.  Each student entry submitted by a Post to District must be an equal 1st place winner.  This means each Post student entry sent to District must receive the same award. For example, a Post has 55 student entries and is eligible to send four entries to District for judging.  These four entries must each receive an equal first place award from the Post.  If the Post lists them as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th place, then they can only send in one entry as the 1st place winner.


Single Winner School Option.  A teacher working in cooperation with a Post can elect to hold a competition in the school, judge the participants and advance one student entry selected as the school first place winner.  The one declared school winner will advance to District as the "school winner” from each participating school sponsored by the Post.




Each District shall be responsible for the conduct of the program and judging of entries within their District. District Chairmen are expected to promote the expansion of the program by encouraging the participation of additional Posts.  It is not always possible to restrict sponsorship strictly along VFW District boundaries.  Posts may solicit student participation from any geographical area within the State of Michigan as long as they do not interfere with the sponsorship of other Posts. District Chairmen are expected to assist Posts in the coordination of sponsorship of all schools in their District. It is unacceptable that a school is not contacted. 


Each District may submit only one entry to the Department for judging.  This entry must be certified on the proper National Entry Form by the District Chairman to be the District First Place Winner of the District Program judging. 


The following items MUST accompany the District entry to Department for judging. 


A)        One student essay in accordance with the above rules.

B)        One completed student entry form from the National Program booklet.

C)        One good quality picture, preferably wallet sized.

D)        One signed student release form provided by Department.

E)        One State Biographical Questionnaire for the District Winner.


It is the responsibility of the District Chairman to ensure that all materials are included.  Any entry that does not include all materials may not be judged.


Reporting:  To obtain program credit the Post Chairman portion of the Student Entry Form must be completed and submitted to District with each Post entry.  The form must include the number of students participating from the school and the approximate cost for the program and awards for that school.  Proper credit cannot be given without this information.  District Chairmen are required to prepare and submit a consolidated report of Post participation within their District using the District Report Form and the District Summary Form. These reports should accompany the District entry to Department. 


Deadlines:  Deadline for Post sponsored program entries is November 1, 2016.  Post judging may not be held before November 2, 2016 and must be completed in time to ensure that winning entries are delivered to the District Chairmen by November 15, 2016. 


District judging may not be held before November 16, 2016 and must be completed in time to ensure that the winning entry with all required materials are delivered to the Department Chairman by December 7, 2016. District judging is the responsibility of the District Chairman to be conducted in accordance with the National Judging Criteria.


The Department deadline for District entries is December 7, 2016.  This deadline is ABSOLUTE and it includes all paper work.  Department judging will be closed and will be the responsibility of the Department Committee.  Be advised that the state judging will be attended only by the VFW Department Committee Members, VFW State Auxiliary Committee Members and the State Judges. The Committee has the sole authority to disqualify from the Department judging any entry which is in violation of the rules as stated in the Department Program and the National Program booklet. 




All Post and District awards are the responsibility of those organizations.


Department Awards will be as follows:


FIRST PLACE: $1,000.00 Wes Longanbach Memorial Award and a plaquepresented by the Department of Michigan Veterans of Foreign Wars.


SECOND PLACE:  $750.00 VFW Auxiliary Award and a plaque presented by the Department of Michigan VFW Auxiliary.


THIRD PLACE: $750.00 and a plaque presented by Harry & Pamela Croyle and .


FOURTH PLACE:  $500.00 District 15 Award presented by District 15 Department of Michigan, Veterans of Foreign Wars and a plaque. 


FIFTH PLACE:  $500.00 District 9 Award presented by District 9 Department of Michigan, Veterans of Foreign Wars and a plaque. 


SIXTH PLACE: $500.00 Barry and Pam Walter Award presented by Barry and Pam Walter, Check for the Post 4005 VFW& Auxiliary Members and a plaque.


SEVENTH PLACE: $500.00 District 7 & VFW Auxiliary Award presented by District 7 Commander & VFW Auxiliary and a plaque.


EIGHTH PLACE: $500.00 Julia Van Tiem Shonts Award and a plaque presented by James & Sandy Van Tien.





TENTH PLACE: $500.00 Post 334 and VFW Auxiliary and a plaque presented by the Commander and President.


ELEVENTH PLACE: $500.00 4406 VFW Post and VFW Auxiliary and a plaque presented by the Commander and President.


TWELTH PLACE: $500.00 10th  District & Judges


The "Wes Longanbach Memorial Traveling Trophy” will be awarded to the Post of the 1st place winner to display for one year.  The trophy will be returned to the Department Chairman not later than December 7 each year to be awarded to the Post of the next year’s State winner.


Department awards will be presented at the 2017 Department of Michigan Mid-Winter Conference.  District winners receiving Department awards will be invited to Mid-Winter Conference and are expected to be present.  The sponsoring District must assume the cost of their winner’s transportation, meals and lodging.  Department will provide each District winner one banquet ticket. Banquet tickets for family members and other guests are the sole responsibility of the District in cooperation with the sponsoring Post. 


Harry "Les” Croyle, Director          James M. Galen, Assistant Director 

30086 Trailwood Drive                     76200 North Ave.

Warren, Michigan 48092                  Armada, Michigan

586-747-2104                                      586-784-9914

hlcroyle@yahoo.com                         jmgalen@sbcglobal.net


Heather Shepherd VFW Auxiliary Chairman

845 Brookdale          

Mason, Mi. 48854




News & Events Camp Trotter Membership
Programs The Officers Veteran Discounts
Post Locations    
Resources & Forms M.O.V. Veteran Benefits & Assistance
Programs Directory Reporting
Department AUX National AUX  
Members Only Site Admin WebMail
  © 2014 - Veterans of Foreign Wars - Michigan 924 N. Washington, Lansing, Mi. 48906
Phone# 517-485-9456 | Fax# 517-485-6432
Login | EMail | Site by: PIXELBIT