James H. Smithson Post 6710, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), annually honors a law enforcement officer and three teachers — nominated by either their supervisor or one of their peers — for their dedication and actions “Above and Beyond.”
The Post 6710 Law Officer/Teacher of the Year Committee, headed by Chairman Brady Stevens, worked with all the schools and law enforcement agencies in the county to obtain the nominees from which they chose those individuals whom they thought best represented their profession.
In addition to the aforementioned, the committee administers the Voice of Democracy (grades 9-12) and the Patriot Pen (grades 6-8) essay contests.
During the weeks of May 10 and May 17, culminating at the Post’s regular monthly meeting May 20, members of the committee presented the certificates and/or plaques to the winners. The following is each 2021 honoree’s name and summary of their nomination:
Teacher of the Year (grades 6-8)
Peggy McPherson-Jeffries of East Clinton Middle School was nominated by Principal Luck, who spoke highly of her positive relationship with her students’ parents and Ms. McPherson-Jeffries’ relationships and the support she offers her students. Additionally, she has her students enter the Patriot Pen essay contest every year.
Teacher of the Year (grades K-5)
Alexandra Laux of Clinton-Massie Elementary School was nominated by Principal Jennifer Updike, who spoke highly of Ms. Laux’s desire and commitment to having her students grow up to be successful, contributing citizens of the United States of America.
As the fourth-grade English and Social Studies teacher, she has her students research and write a report on the American Hero of their choice. On Election Day they learn about the privileges and responsibilities associated with the right to vote by setting up voting booths and voting.
Patriot Pen winners
Ms. McPherson-Jeffries’ East Clinton Middle School students wrote an essay on the assigned subject: “What Patriotism Means to Me” and among them were the three winners: First place, Ava Mess; second place, Sydney Beiting; and third place, Stephen Lozana. Each participant received a certificate, note pad and a pen. The winners also received a plaque.
Voice of Democracy winner
Tye Phipps, 10th-grader at Clinton-Massie High School, will have his winning essay on the assigned subject: “Is This the Country the Founding Fathers Envisioned” submitted for the VFW 4th District competition, with that winner submitted to the state contest. He received a certificate, plaque and $100 from VFW Post 6710.
Law Officer of the Year
Clinton County Sheriff’s Lt. Michael Kassinos wrote: “It is with both pleasure and privilege that I nominate Clinton County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Col. Brian Prickett to be the VFW Post 6710 Law Officer of the Year. Col. Prickett has been with the Sheriff’s Office since 1984 and continues to provide outstanding support and service to our community.”
As Chief Deputy, Col. Prickett’s duties involve the day-to-day operation and function of the entire Sheriff’s Office.
In presenting the “2021 Law Officer of the Year” plaque to Col. Prickett, Post 6710 Commander Ronnie Dunn said, “It is a great honor for me to present this certificate and plaque to such an outstanding individual and especially a dedicated law officer.”