Lincoln VFW Gives Top Teacher Award

Tyler Simons
Enterprise Staff
In 1999, The VFW launched the Smart/Maher National Citizenship Education Teacher Award to recognize America’s best educators who instill a sense of national pride in students. These teachers care deeply about America and its children. They’re concerned about the perpetuation of America’s noblest traditions and highest ideals. Teachers from grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 compete at the Post, District and Department (State) level. The Department winners compete against 53 other teachers for the honor of being recognized at the National Convention. The National award winner in each category receives the Past Commander-in Chief John Smart Award, $1000, and is invited to attend the VFW National Convention.
Warsaw Teacher Steve Larson was submitted by his Principal Billy Daleske, to compete at the Middle School level.  He was selected by the Lincoln VFW for his hands-on approach to researching American History by visiting the different American historical places and bringing this information back to his students. Steve also plans and raises funds for his students to visit Washington DC each year.  
Royce Kelb, Lincoln VFW Post Commander, stated, “We’ve been doing this for over 20 years, trying to recognize the teachers that are installing patriotism into the students and display to them what ways are available to show patriotism. Steve has brought 14 students to our nation’s capital for 2 years in a row to demonstrate our abundant history and show the students the meaning of our trials and tribulations firsthand. He shows a genuine interest in all U.S. history, and students follow his lead.” 
Steve Larson was selected as the VFW 6th District winner and won the Missouri VFW Department (State) Middle School Teacher competition. He and his wife are invited to attend the District 6 meeting and Department Council of Administration meeting in February where he will be honored for his accomplishment.  His packet is now at the National level where he will compete against 53 other VFW Department entries for the National honors.  If Steve wins at this level, He and his wife will receive an all-expense paid trip to the VFW National Convention held in Reno, Nevada in July. The school that recognized him will also be honored with $1000 and a plaque from the VFW National Headquarters. 
Elaborating on what this experience means to him, Larson said, “After 27 years of teaching, it’s nice to get recognized and even more so to be nominated by Dr. Daleske. It was quite an experience I had at the Capitol Plaza hotel for the awards ceremony this past weekend. What’s most amazing is the support from the Lincoln VFW Post 5925 toward the students that wrote essays and received money to fund their college as a result.”