Local Youth Recognized During Annual American Legion Christmas Dinner

by Charlotte Purdy

Local youth from around the county were recognized during the annual American Legion Christmas dinner held at Camp Doughboy on Thursday, December 1, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. Members of The American Legion Post #158 and American Legion Auxiliary Unit #158 prepared a delicious hamburger dinner with all the trimmings and desserts that were divine!

Approximately sixty people attended the event, and once they finished eating, Post Commander Ken Dempsey discussed how the Post hosts the annual Boys and Girls State Hamburger Dinner in September, but not all delegates were able to attend and the Post and Unit wanted to recognize those students. Audrey Purdy, Unit #158 Girls State Chairman, announced that the Unit had four girls who were sent to ALA Arkansas Girls State at the end of May.

Arkansas Girls State is an education program for young girls who have completed their Junior year in high school and during the week-long event, delegates nominate and elect “officials” in a mock government.

Four girls and two boys were chosen for Arkansas Boys and Girls State based off of their leadership, character and honesty, cooperativeness, and community service. Girls State Delegates Taylor West, Madison McCarty, Kelsey Holzhauer, and Chloe-Belle Grantham. Arkansas Boys State delegates were Grant Kemp and Jordan Brown.

Also recognized following the dinner were 10 youth who received the American Legion Auxiliary Youth Good Deed Award. The award is presented to youth under the age of 18 who donate their time for a worthy cause. Arkansas County has a large amount of youth who go above and beyond to help those in need, and these ten youth were most deserving of the award.

In July, Riley Dollar, Addie Fisher, and Jaci Fisher hosted a lemonade stand to raise money for the Mora family following their devastating house fire; Weslie Jane Long and Ava-Grace Grantham made fur baby beds for the Friends of the Animal Village in Little Rock in October; Kelsie Powell and Nataleigh Lawrence hosted a lemonade stand in 2019 to raise money to purchase items for blessing bags to be delivered to DeWitt Middle School; During the COVID pandemic, Presley Hill made lanyards for face masks; Skylar Purdy helped her grandmother, Audrey Purdy, make face masks during the COVID pandemic; Chloe-Belle Grantham helped make jelly and donated the proceeds of the sales of the jars of jelly to The American Legion Post #158.

“Service, Not Self” is definitely in these youth’s mind! They went above and beyond to help others and asked nothing in return! If you know of a child in your community who is deserving of this award, please contact American Legion Auxiliary Unit #158 Children & Youth Chairman Charlotte Purdy at cpurdy964@gmail.com or American Legion Auxiliary Department of Arkansas Children & Youth Chairperson Ashlynne Jenkins at ashjenkins03@gmail.com