Last updated: February 16. 2013 9:40PM - 788 Views

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WILKES-BARRE – A multi-generational essay contest will give everyone an opportunity to share the lessons they have learned from family members who served in the military.

Mike Zimmerman, executive director at Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley, is on the committee for the contest: "Honor & Respect – What I Most Learned from my Family Member Who Served in the Military."

Zimmerman said the purpose of the contest is to hear the positive family connections and role modeling that are key elements to forming the groundwork for relationships and accomplishments throughout life.

"Passed down through generations, the lessons learned from one's family extend beyond the household and shape how we relate and respond to the community," Zimmerman said.

Through the combined efforts of The Times Leader, Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley, the Tri-Vets Community Action Team and Generation 2 Generation, Zimmerman said residents will be able to recognize the positive role their parents have played in their personal development.

"Strong communities are built through strong families," he said.

Joe DeVizia, chairman of Generation 2 Generation, said the contest, in its second year, has again chosen a great theme.

"The return of the veterans back home and adjustment back to their families is one of the most important themes in our community," DeVizia said. "We all should congratulate them and thank them for a job well done."

Last year's contest asked people to write essays on what they learned from their grandparents. Zimmerman said the objectives of the contest are to demonstrate the positive influence military service has on all family members.

"Contestants can write about anyone in their family," Zimmerman said. "A student can write about a parent or grandparent, cousin, aunt or uncle, and an adult can write about a child or grandchild. It's wide open.

"But the important issue is that it's vital to pay tribute to our veterans."

Contest Rules

In 500 words or less, write an essay on what you learned most from your family member who is serving in the military or has served in the past.


Elementary School: Grades 4 through 6

Middle School: Grades 7 and 8

High School: Grades 9 through 12

College: Any age student who is actively enrolled

Adult: Any non-student age 18 to 100

Awards for each category:

First Place, $250; Second Place, $150; Third Place, $100

Plus: $100 will be donated to the library of each school represented by the 1st place winner in elementary, middle, and high school categories.

Time Frame:

Aug. 19 - Preliminary announcement of the competition

Aug. 20 through Oct. 19 - essays received.

Oct. 20 – Initial screening of essays completed.

Oct. 22 through Nov. 5 – Final screening and winners selected

Nov. 11, 5 p.m. – Winners announced at First Presbyterian Church, 63 S. Franklin St.

Mail entries to :

The Times Leader

15 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre 18711

In addition to the Times Leader, the following organizations are contest sponsors:

• Tri-Vets Community Action Team purpose is to link public, private, and governmental support for service members; veterans; recovering wounded, ill, and injured warriors; service member and veteran immediate family members; and the immediate surviving family members of service members who have died in the line of duty, through a common understanding of what is required to ensure a sustainable life in civilian society.

• Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley is a not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization that provides diverse services to children, individuals, seniors, and families, empowering them to achieve their full potential and resulting in healthier relationships and stronger communities.

• Generation 2 Generation is a non-profit corporation designed to enrich lives through intergenerational sharing by creating opportunities for people of all ages to share time, conversations, values and fun through meaningful activities; encouraging young people to learn from seniors and to benefit from their experience, wisdom and knowledge while celebrating their accomplishments.

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