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Students win Armed Services YMCA national awards
Student produce tributes to military parents
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The Armed Services YMCA, the nation's leading nonprofit organization supporting the families of junior enlisted military personnel, recently awarded top prizes in its annual art and essay contests to Liberty County residents.
Fort Stewart third-grader Hannah Loudermilk, 8, won in the Air Force category of ASYMCA's annual art contest, sponsored by GEICO.
Midway fourth-grader Kathleen Horne took first place in the third-fourth grade category of the essay contest, sponsored by Lockheed Martin.
Winners were announced recently on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Hannah is the daughter of Staff Sgt. Ray Loudermilk of the U.S. Air Force and drew a portrait of her family.
Kathleen is the daughter of U.S. Army Maj. Kelso Horne III and Ronette Horne and wrote a poem.
Both will receive $500 U.S. savings bonds. The drawing was chosen from nearly 500 submissions nationwide.  
"The ASYMCA's art contest gives the children of our military service members the opportunity to express their experiences in a creative way," said ASYMCA Executive Director Frank Gallo, a retired rear admiral. "Not only does this contest foster a love and appreciation for the arts, it gives these children the chance to showcase their pride for the service their families provide to our country. It also gives us the inside-look into the lives of military children."
Each year, the ASYMCA invites children of servicemembers to participate in art and essay contests. While promoting reading, writing and the arts, the contests provide young people with a medium to express the emotions and experiences and challenges they face growing up as children in the military.
For the art contest, elementary school children from all branches of the military are invited to submit a drawing that illustrates their military family. Essay entries about topics related to military families are accepted from students in grades 1-12.
ASYMCA announced 12 winners of the 2008 art contest (two from each branch of service) and 14 winners of the 2008 essay contest (two winners from six categories based on grade, plus two awards of honorable mention for high school students). All winning artwork is featured on the annual Military Family Month Poster, which is distributed to Members of Congress and the Department of Defense.
Entries from the 2007 essay contest will be compiled into a book released this month. "MY HERO" is the first book to tell the stories of military kids and how they are affected by their parents' deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. It will be available for purchase at bookstores and at

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