Student earns VFW honors

Freehold Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4374, Waterworks Road, Freehold Township, has announced its winner of the 2006-07 Voice of Democracy scholarship competition.

Rebecca Pinnelas, a senior at Free-hold High School, Freehold Borough, won the post competition and the district competition with her speech addressing “Freedom’s Challenge.”

According to a press release from Post 4374, Rebecca is involved in various community activities, including volunteer work as an Emergency Medical Techni-cian for the Englishtown-Manalapan First Aid Squad, where she has also served as the first lieutenant and captain of the cadet corps. She is also involved in the sport of fencing. She enjoys science and mathematics and hopes to study engineering or medicine in the future.

Created in 1947, the Voice of Democ-racy scholarship program is an audio-essay contest for high school students in grades nine through 12 that annually provides more than $3 million in scholarships. The first-place winner, who competes with all the first-place VFW state winners, receives a $30,000 scholarship that is paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school.

“We are very proud of Rebecca,” said Post Commander Vic Iannelli. “This is the second year in a row our post has won the district competition and we were honored to send Rebecca to the New Jersey State competition in Atlantic City on Jan. 27.”

Every year, hundreds of thousands of high school students nationwide participate in the Voice of Democracy scholarship competition and middle school students participate in the Patriot’s Pen essay contest, garnering more than $3.4 million in scholarships and incentives.

In addition to the VFW’s scholarship programs, posts and auxiliaries across the nation work with youth in scouting, sports, Junior ROTC and military cadet programs. The VFW and its auxiliaries encourage millions of America’s young adults to higher ideals and greater personal achievement, according to the press release.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars is a fraternal, patriotic, historical and educational organization dedicated to perpetuate the memory and history of America’s combat dead and to assist surviving family members. Membership is made up of those who are honorably serving or have served in the Armed Forces overseas in a combat zone.

The Freehold post draws membership from much of western Monmouth County including Allentown, Colts Neck, Eng-lishtown, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Manalapan, Marlboro and Millstone Township. Freehold Post 4374 has more than 300 members and has been established in the community since 1945.