PHOTO PROVIDED VFW district commander Bob Beck (far right) awards Gerard Morton, a Pleasant Hill student, first place in the Voice of Democracy contest. His parents, Nicole and Dennis Morton, were also given a teacher award by the district.

VFW District 13 was recently able to present the Voice of Democracy awards for 2020-21, after the COVID-19 pandemic made presentations more challenging, said district commander Bob Beck. This high school scholarship program is an audio essay competition with a different patriotic theme each year. First place was awarded to Gerard Morton, of Pleasant Hill High, a student at ACE Academy in Cottage Grove. Second pace was awarded to Lexie Smith, of Creswell High, and third place went to Keadan Weiler, of Thurston High. These awards include a certificate, medallion and cash. Morton’s parents, Nicole and Dennis Morton, also received a Teacher of the Year award as teachers at the ACE Academy.

PHOTO PROVIDED VFW district commander Bob Beck awards second place to Lexie Smith, a Creswell High School student.