Spirit of America contest seeks nominations of area's patriots

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The unflinching spirit of America is well known throughout the world, but perhaps no area of the country embodies this spirit more than Southeast Missouri.

In order to honor those individuals who have shown great patriotism through the service of their country, the Southeast Missourian once again is sponsoring the Spirit of America Award.

"This award is to recognize local heroes who really have helped to define some wonderful aspects about the fabric of our community," said Jon Rust, Southeast Missourian publisher and co-president.

The Southeast Missourian invites area organizations to nominate individuals for the award. The organization that nominates the Spirit of America winner will receive $1,000 to be used toward charitable activity.

"Civic organizations and clubs are welcomed and encouraged to identify people among their ranks or within the community who contribute to our quality of life and represent American ideals," Rust said.

Last year's winner, Dr. Dan B. Cotner of Cape Girardeau, was nominated by the Cape Girardeau Rotary Club. Cotner is a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, and he is a member of the Rotary Club and the Cape Municipal Band. Although he said he thinks there are many in the area even more deserving of the award, he said he appreciated receiving it last year.

"I think it's a wonderful thing to do," Cotner said. "It comes at a very patriotic time of year, and it's a wonderful thing to have such a celebration."

The first winner of the Spirit of America award was John "Doc" Yallaly, also of Cape Girardeau. The contest began in 2003.

A special Spirit of America edition will be published in the newspaper July 1 to announce the finalists for this year's award. Readers are invited to submit 250-word essays on the subject by June 17. The best essays will be printed in the Spirit of America publication.

The Spirit of America winner will be presented with a trophy July 4 at Cape Girardeau's Libertyfest.

Nomination forms for the Spirit of America Award will be printed periodically in the newspaper beginning today.

Award nominations and essays can be mailed to: Southeast Missourian, Sam Blackwell, P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63702, or sent by e-mail to sblackwell@semissourian.com. The deadline for nominations is June 17.

wmcferron@semissourian.com

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