Veterans of Foreign Wars Lynnwood recognizes essay contest winners, longtime EMT Posted: January 17, 2014 1498 VFW Post 1040 (Lynnwood) recognized the winners of its annual Patriot’s Pen youth essay writing contest Thursday at College Place Middle School. Pictured are (front row) First place winner Samantha Dickinson, second place winner Ines Broerson and third place winner Yusuf Ishaque; (back row) Frank Martinez, VFW Post 1040 Sr. Vice Commander; John Zambrano, VFW Post 1040 Chaplain and Andy Dingman, VFW Post 1040 Patriots Pen Chairman. Annually, more than 100,000 students from grades 6-8 (nationwide) enter. One first-place winner from each state competes to win one of 46 national awards totaling $46,000. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March. Students draft a 300-400 word essay, expressing their views based on an — always patriotic — annual theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. This years theme was: “What Patriotism Means to Me.” VFW Post 1040 Commander Martin Spani (left) awards the Emergency Medical Technician Gold Medal Award to Ronald A. Wertz of the South Bay Fire Department in Thurston County. Wertz received the award for giving 34 tireless years of service to the fire department. During his tenure with the department, he held the position of Firefighter/EMT, level One Firefighter, Shift Captain and Incident Command CPR instructor.