Schmitt-Manecke Donner VFW Post 1638 and Auxiliary of Merrill recognized the winner of the Patriot’s Pen essay contest. The theme for the essays was “Are You Proud of Your Country?” Over 140 entries were received from the different Middle Schools in Merrill. Front row from left to right: 5th Place Liliana Diagostin a 6th Grader at Trinity Lutheran School, 7th Place Andreon Goetsch a 6th Grader at St Francis Xavier School, 4th Place Autumn Schenzel a 6th Grader at St Francis Xavier School, 1st Place Brendon Herdt a 7th Grader at St Johns Lutheran School. Second Row shown with winners from left to right, State Commander Larry Kutschma, Patriot Pen Chair Tracey Jopek, 9th Place Ava Gruetzmacher a 8th Grader at St Johns Lutheran School, Post Commander Michele Rathke, 6th Place Briana Grosskurth a 7th Grader at Prairie River Middle School , Patriot Pen Chair Russ Iwen, and Ladies Auxiliary President Toni Smith. Not available for picture was 2nd Place Josiah Weix, a 8th Grader who is Home Schooled and 8th Place Zachary Mootz a 6th Grader at St Francis Xavier School.