Home Local News Student essay winners recognized during Ellerbe American Legion anniversary

Student essay winners recognized during Ellerbe American Legion anniversary

American Legion Post 73 Commander JoAnn Blyther congratulates ninth-grader Ruthanne Williams on being the runner-up in a state essay contest. Photo by Christopher McDonald - Richmond Observer

ELLERBE — American Legion Post 73 commemorated its one-year anniversary — and the 104th birthday of the American Legion — with a celebration Saturday at the Ellerbe Lions Club.

After the greetings of post Commander JoAnn Blyther, a recitation of the award-winning speech from the 2023 Oratorical Contest was given by Post winner and state runner-up Ruthanne Williams of Rockingham.

Williams’ winning essay was entitled “Is Freedom of Religion Really Free?” For being a runner-up in the state contest, she received a $500 scholarship, a certificate and a personalized medal.

“I hope to bring others to the fact of knowing God,” said Williams, “and just opening up people’s mindset of how the First Amendment came about and how this amendment impacts history.”

Even though she is a student at the Ninth Grade Academy, the idea of college is on the horizon.

“I have checked into a lot of colleges,” said Wiliams, but Liberty University is on the top of my list and Grand Canyon University in Arizona.”


Ellerbe City Councilman Jeremy McKenzie said that Post 73 has been an important organization for the community.

“It is an honor to be here and I thank Commander Blyther for having me,” said McKenzie. “I want to congratulate her and her comrades for the hard work … and their great work here in Ellerbe.”


Post 73 received its charter in November of 2021.


Sarah Dawkins and Hunter Hogan finished first and second respectively in the 2023 Post 73 Eighth-Grade Constitutional Essay Contest. Dawkins received a certificate, trophy and a scholarship of $75. Hogan also received a certificate, a trophy and a scholarship of $50.

On Monday, March 13, American Flags and U.S. Flag code booklets were delivered to Ellerbe Middle School. The flags and codes were to be offered to all students. This gives each student the opportunity to own their own American Flag and have information on how the flag is to be handled and displayed.

Sarah Dawkins and Hunter Hogan. Contributed photo


Post 73 is interested in starting a fastpitch softball team for girls aged 13-19. If interested, call 910-217-6258. The season will begin May 30 and run through early August.

Post 73 holds meetings the first Sunday of each month at the Ellerbe Lions Club. Meetings begin at 3:30 p.m. For information or to join, contact Blyther at 910-217-6258 or jablyther@aol.com.

Contributed photo

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