Local students win essay contest
By Matt Wilson
For the FCT
State and local officials met at Northwest-Shoals Community College’s Shoals campus on Aug. 18 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 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.
The contest, which is in its fourth year, is administered by Katernia Cole, extension coordinator for Franklin County, through the 4-H programs in each school in the four-county area.
Franklin County had a particularly good showing at this year’s contest with five students winning awards.
In the Junior category, Adriana Borden from Tharptown Elementary was awarded second-place for her essay.
In the Senior category, Tharptown High School ran the table with all four places going to students from the Franklin County school. Fourth place was awarded to MaKayla Grace Franks, third place was awarded to Brittany Smith, and second place went to Catie Dawson.
First place winner of the Senior category was awarded to Gant Dill. Dill read his winning essay, leading the crowd through the trials and tribulations throughout United States history and how the nation was able to overcome those adversities. Beginning and ending his essay with an emphatic, “I love America,” Dill demonstrated why his essay took home the first place award.
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.”
State Sen. Roger Bedford said what he saw in attendance was a “great future for our country” and that he was excited to see what would become of the young people there.
“The children here tonight are the future—they are building the bridges to the future—and I am glad to see that they feel so strongly about this nation,” Bedford said.
State Rep. Greg Burdine echoed Bedford’s sentiments.
“I want to thank the children who participated in this essay contest,” Burdine said.
“I want to thank them for being a part of a promising future for our state and our country.”