May 30 marks the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day, remembering our fallen soldiers. In Blooming Prairie, the VFW, American Legion and Auxiliaries held their program in the Serviceman's Club Liberty Room.

The first award went to Marissa Larson, daughter of Jeff and Tammy Larson, for Voice of Democracy that is open to grades 9-12. The theme was "My Vision of America." After she read her essay, she was awarded $100 and a certificate. Nationally the award is a $30,000 college scholarship. The Auxiliaries invited and encouraged all high school students to write for the next Voice of Democracy, which is due Nov. 1 with the theme "My Responsibility to America." The essays are judged on originality, content and delivery.

Marissa also was awarded the VFW Auxiliary's Patriotic Art Award, which encourages and recognizes students for their artistic patriotism. Locally, Larson wins a certificate and $100. Nationally, winners have an opportunity to win a $10,000 college scholarship and a two-night trip to attend the VFW Auxiliary National Convention. The Patriotic Art Award was established in 1979 and is open to grades 9-12. The next deadline is March 31, 2017.

Auxiliaries then awarded 14 local veterans with Quilts of Valor that were all made by local quilters: Bev Hovland, Marilyn Meshke, Judy Bishop, Chris Butler and Linda Christianson and long-arm quilters include Bev Wack, Gina Larson, Cathy Martin, and the Calico Hutch.

Service information was given about each of the 14 veterans. Congratulations on receiving a Quilt of Valor:

  • Luke Broulik
  • Eugene Kaplan
  • Carl Hafflinger, receiving on his behalf was Doug Johnson
  • Howard Lestrud
  • Denny Johnson
  • Brian Hovland
  • Burton Knutson
  • Kurt Blome
  • Tom Blome
  • Paul Johnson
  • Dale Tollefson
  • Wayne Nelson
  • Dan Systek