Ceremonies for the winner of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Letters to the Front contest were held Thursday. The winner was 13 year old Fatima Faisal of West Genessee Middle School in New York.
At the presentation, she was given certificate, a t-shirt, and a savings bond. Staff Sgt. Phillip Trackey stood before the crowd, holding up the Purple Heart he earned from wounds suffered in Baghdad, Iraq in 2005. He walked up Faisal after she received her prizes. He had his purple heart in his hand and it pinned it on her blouse. Faisal was surprised at the gesture.
The contest is held annually. Faisal’s letter was one of 300 entrants in the Central New York region. 60 of her fellow students also participated.
Trackey was deeply moved by letters that children write to soldiers. He stated that “The letters mean so much to us. So I thought this was a big way of giving something back to them.”