Patriotism essay contest winners named
State and local officials met at Northwest-Shoals Community College’s Shoals campus on Monday to honor the winners of the Dr. Fredric Rosemore 4-H Patriotism Essay Contest held in schools throughout Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale and Lawrence counties.
The essay contest was first established last year as a way to honor the memory of Dr. Fredric Rosemore, who was the father of Russellville optometrist Dr. Martha Morrow.
Rosemore was a decorated World War II veteran and was characterized by a strong and enduring love for his family and his country throughout his life, so his family thought an essay contest where students are encouraged to think about why they are proud to be an American would be a fitting tribute to his life and legacy.
In its third year, the Dr. Fredric Rosemore 4-H Patriotism Essay Contest had 60 essays submitted in both the senior and junior divisions.
Upcoming Russellville High School ninth grader Lariza Garcia took home the first place award in the senior category and brought many in the crowd to tears as she read her winning essay about her love for her country and the struggles her mother, Maria Delgado, has endured so she and her siblings can have a better, brighter future.
“Watching this program evolve over the last three years, I can see that this is exactly what my father would have wanted,” Martha Morrow said.
“I cried along with Miss Garcia as she read her essay, hearing about all the freedoms that she is thankful for and that my daddy held so dear to him.
“My father and mother’s life wasn’t easy but the opportunities this country provided them were so important and he appreciated those things.”
Martha Morrow said her father was always proud to be an American citizen and to have served his country honorably.
Rosemore served the United States during World War II as a B-17 navigator in the European Theater where he completed 22 combat missions before his aircraft was shot down behind enemy lines in Hungary and he was made a prisoner of war – a situation few were lucky to survive through.
After enduring time spent in a Nazi prison camp, Rosemore was eventually freed and he returned home to the United States as a decorated war hero receiving the Air Medal Oak Leaf Cluster, the Presidential Unit Citation, five Battle Stars, a Prisoner of War Medal and two Purple Heart awards.
The things Rosemore endured during his time of service, however, never shook his faith in his country and his desire to see it prosper.
When he returned home, Rosemore desired to become a productive member of the American society so he enrolled at the Southern College of Optometry to pursue a career that would allow him to help other people, especially children, the elderly and those in underserved areas.
Rosemore went on to serve as an optometrist for 32 years before retiring, but Rosemore didn’t slow down. He went on to lead several successful businesses in his retirement because Rosemore never stopped believing in making the place he lived a better place for others.
Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay), Dr. Martha Morrow’s husband, introduced House Resolution 263 on April 12, 2010, officially recognizing the Dr. Frederic Rosemore Patriotism Essay Contest.
“I was a 4-H club member when I was in school and I took it seriously,” Morrow said. “Mr. Leopard, my 4-H coordinator, inspired me to live by the 4-H motto and he encouraged critical thinking, and that’s what this contest does – it gets these students thinking about their love for their country.”
The contest is administered by Katernia Cole, extension coordinator for Franklin County, through the 4-H programs in each school in the four-county area.
“We had 60 essays turned in for this year’s contest,” Cole said. “That is a great number and these students really made it hard for the judges to decide on a winner because the essays were all very good.
“You could tell each one of them embraced what the contest was about and really thought about what their country means to them.”
In addition to Garcia’s first-place win, Franklin County students who received awards in the senior division included Meaghan Hardy, an upcoming eleventh grader at Phil Campbell High School, who received a third-place award; and Auburn Hargett, from Phil Campbell High School, who was unable to attend the event but received a fourth-place award.