WOODBURY - VFW Post 9024 and American Legion Post 501 hosted the first-ever Joint Annual Awards banquet on Feb. 21, at Green Mill Restaurant in Woodbury. The awards were hosted by VFW Post 9024 Commander Paul Lindahl and American Legion Post 501 Commander Tom Grezek.

The two groups presented the following awards:

Veterans Service Awards - Thallassa Gunelius, eligibility specialist veterans service division and Ryan Carufel, Washington County veterans service officer.

Public Safety Awards - Police officer detective Lynn Lund, Fire Lt. Kevin Priester and emergency medical technician Ronald Hawkins.

Patriot's Pen Awards for 6th-8th grade essays on "Why I honor the American Flag" - First place, Harish Premsai; second place, Anthony Baston; and third place (tie), Charles Jacobson and Yifan Zhai. All are students at Woodbury Middle School.

Voice of Democracy Awards for 9th-12th grade students. This is an annual VFW nationwide scholarship program; this year's oral presentations were on "Why my Vote Matters" - First place, Quinn Bruning, Woodbury High School; second place, Kathryn Garvin, Woodbury High School; and third place, Katherine Yapp, Math and Science Academy.