MANCHESTER >> VFW Post 6471 Commander Bruce Charbonneau has announced that the 2015-16 Patriots Pen essay contest State of Vermont winner is Niall Monahan a 7th grader from Manchester Elementary and Middle School. He won an $800 first place prize and advances to national competition.

This year's Patriots Pen theme is; "What Freedom Means to Me" Niall's essay was forwarded by Manchester Post 6471 and he won first place at District 1 VFW which includes students from all of southern Vermont and he received a $125 check plus a certificate.

Annually, more than 100,000 students from grades 6-8 (nationwide) enter. Niall is now one of 54 students nationwide competing to win one of 46 national awards totaling $46,000 and the first place Grand prize winner will receive $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. in March.

The Manchester Post 6471 Voice of Democracy winner Claire Reid, a 10th grade Burr and Burton student, Her essay was on the theme of "My Vision for America" and she won first place at District 1 VFW competition winning $125 and was then advanced to State where she placed third and won $500 from VT State VFW. Claire can re-enter next year and Post 6471 hopes she does.

Visit Manchester VFW Post 6471's web page at and click on Veteran events to see pictures of Niall Monahan and Claire Reid at the State banquet held at Springfield VFW Post on Jan. 9. Harned-Fowler VFW Post 6471 is very proud of these young citizens accomplishments and wish Nialles the very best as he attempts to become the National grand prize winner, which carries with it a first place prize of $5,000.