Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
A local civic organization is taking to heart the national Month of the Military Child by sponsoring a “Military Kids in Our Own Backyard” poster contest in April.
“Purple Up” is part of the Operation: Military Kids campaign initiated three years ago by the U.S. Army for communities to show support of children and youth impacted by deployment.
Locally, the Kiwanis of Jacksonville “were looking for an idea to do something for military children,” said member Jana Bateman. “We're about children – everything we do is about trying to help children in both our community and throughout the world, so I contacted Julianne (Sanford, coordinator of the local Lone Star Military Resource Group) and she gave me some ideas.”
The poster contest is open to youths ages 5-18, with an April 5 entry deadline, Bateman said.
Posters will be displayed at East Texas Medical Center – Jacksonville on April 12, and prizes will be awarded to the top entry from each of the JISD school campuses. The grand prize is a $50 prize.
“We have a couple of military families who will be judges, and we're really excited about it because it's a really neat way to honor those kids who make sacrifices while while their parents are deployed,” she said.
Contest entries may be sent to P.O. Box 8175, Jacksonville, TX 75766, or contact Bateman at 903-541-5375 for more information.
The posters will be on display at the hospital for about a week, and at 3:30 p.m. April 12, Jacksonville Mayor Kenneth Melvin will read a proclamation at the hospital in support of the effort.
April 15 has been designated as “Purple Up” day, and people are encouraged to wear purple as a visible sign of support for military children.
The color symbolizes all the branches of the military, “as it is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue,” said Brigid Mejia, the Tex Vet coordinator of Texas Operation: Military Kids.
TOMC is part of the 4-H Youth Development program of Texas Agri-Life Extension Services.