3 Teachers Selected for National Awards by the Veterans of Foreign Wars

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Each year for the past 14 years, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) has recognized three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teach Americanism and patriotism to their students.

The Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award recipients are selected from entries submitted by local VFW Posts in the U.S. and overseas. The entries detail a local teacher’s act of promoting civic responsibility, flag etiquette and patriotism in the classroom.

There are three categories of competition: elementary school (K-5), middle school (6-8), and high school (9-12). During the competition more than $253,000 in awards were presented to more than 1,400 teachers at various levels in the VFW.

Matt Maddox, a fifth-grade teacher at Columbus Elementary in Edwardsville, Ill., has been named the winner at the elementary school level. At the middle school level, Hunter Jones, an eighth-grade school teacher at Will James Junior High in Billings, Mont., was named the winner. Matthew Susin, a teacher at Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Fla., was selected at the high school level.

Each teacher receives the VFW Past Commander-in-Chief John Smart award of $1,000 for their professional development and another $1,000 for their school. In addition, all three teachers receive an all-expense-paid trip to Louisville, Ky., where the awards will be presented during the 2013 VFW National Convention, July 20-24.

Steve Van Buskirk, director of VFW Programs, commented, "Next to parents, teachers hold the key to raising up young civic-minded patriots who will perpetuate the values that have made this nation great."