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APRIL 20, 2012 SCHOLARSHIPS Indiana youth claims Oratorical win

Rebecca Frazer of Morgantown, Ind., is The American Legion’s 75th High School Oratorical Scholarship Program champion. Rebecca Frazer of Morgantown, Ind., was

crowned T e American Legion’s 75th High School Oratorical Scholarship Program champion April 15 in Indianapolis. Frazer’s winning oration, “Maintaining Liberty, the People’s Call,” earned her fi rst place and an $18,000 scholarship. Frazer is a returning Oratorical candidate, but

she didn’t advance past the national quarterfi nals in 2011. So Frazer, sponsored by Post 230 in Martinsville, was more than elated aſt er earning a spot in this year’s fi nals, and eventually claiming the fi rst-place fi nish. “I was so excited, I was thrilled, and ever since

last year I have wanted to talk on the big stage in front of everyone,” Frazer said. “I have enjoyed the experience, and I’m so thankful.” Second place was awarded to Charles Baines

of Meridian, Idaho, who was sponsored by Post 113 and earned a $16,000 scholarship for his oration, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.” T ird place was awarded to John Donaldson IV of Eden Prairie, Minn., who was sponsored by Post 118 and earned a $14,000 scholarship for his oration, “T e Constitution the Framers Loaned to Us.” Once Frazer, Baines and Donaldson took

the auditorium stage, they each presented their rehearsed eight- to 10-minute oration in front of a large audience fi lled with family, Legionnaires, the other 49 Oratorical candidates and a panel of six judges. T ese judges consisted of attorneys, law professors, speech and debate coaches, and journalists. Preceding the orations, the three fi nalists

presented a three- to fi ve-minute speech on an assigned topic discourse – a phase of the Constitution selected from Articles and Sections. T e assigned topic for the championship fi nals was drawn by National Commander

VETERANS HEALTH CARE Legion’s VA site visits underway

The Legion has begun its next round of System Worth Saving trips to VA medical centers. Focusing on patient satisfaction and overall quality

of health care, T e American Legion’s System Worth Saving (SWS) Task Force will evaluate 25 Department of Veterans Aff airs (VA) medical facilities throughout the next three months. Created in 2003, the SWS program

conducts site visits to VA facilities every six months, getting feedback from patients and staff about the quality and timeliness of health care. For each round of visits, an area of special concern is highlighted; last fall, SWS focused on the quality of health care in rural areas. Reports from site visits are published biannually and distributed to Legion leadership, VA offi cials, all members of Congress and the president. “Our task force wants to examine how quality of

care and patient satisfaction is defi ned, measured and managed,” said Jacob Gadd, deputy director of health care in the Legion’s Veterans Aff airs & Rehabilitation Division. “We also want to know about the positive experiences veterans have with VA health care, as well as the challenges.” From April 16 to June 14, SWS Task Force members

will evaluate VA medical facilities in the following cities: New York, St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, Milwaukee, Chicago, Cincinnati, New Orleans, San Diego, San Francisco, Lyons, N.J.; Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Neb.; Columbia and Charleston, S.C.; Durham and Salisbury,

N.C.; Nashville and Memphis, Tenn.; Biloxi, Miss.; Tacoma and Vancouver, Wash.; Sacramento and Long Beach, Calif.; and Columbus, Ohio. A full schedule for this spring’s remaining

SWS site visits is below and can be viewed at the Legion’s website. During site visits, SWS Task Force

members will also hold veterans focus groups at Legion posts and department headquarters. Gadd said the focus groups are an excellent opportunity to hear fi rsthand from local veterans about experiences and concerns over health care at their respective VA facilities. “If you’re a veteran getting health care at one of the medical centers our task force is visiting, we encourage you to attend one of these focus groups,” Gadd said. Veterans are also encouraged to participate in the

Legion’s online survey, which asks questions about patient satisfaction and health-care quality at VA medical centers. For more information on the SWS program, or to

discuss successes or challenges encountered at VA facilities, email

VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System in Omaha, Neb., received a visit from System Worth Saving (SWS) Task Force members in mid-April. Veterans Health

Site visit schedule • May 13-18 – Nashville, Tenn. (VMAC), Memphis, Tenn. (VMAC), St. Louis (VMAC)

• May 14-18 – Baltimore (VMAC), Washington, D.C. (VMAC)

• May 14-18 – Milwaukee (VMAC), Chicago (VMAC)

• May 20-23 – New Orleans (VMAC), Biloxi, Miss. (VMAC)

• May 21-24 – Tacoma, Wash. (VMAC), Vancouver, Wash. (VMAC)

• June 4-8 – San Diego (VMAC), Long Beach, Calif. (VMAC)

• June 4-8 – Sacramento, Calif. (VMAC), San Francisco (VMAC)

• June 11-14 – Columbus, Ohio (VMAC), Cincinnati (VMAC)

Fang A. Wong and was made known to the audience and each fi nalist fi ve minutes prior to the time of delivery. T e assigned topic chosen was Amendment 15,

Section 1: “T e right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” T e amendment chosen gave Frazer the

extra confi dence needed to take the overall win. “T is was the fi rst time I got to speak on

Amendment 15 during this competition, and it was my favorite (assigned topic) that I had written,” Frazer said. “I was actually praying before the contest, ‘God, let me get Amendment 15,’ because I wanted to give my speech. So I was thrilled when they drew it. I think my prep monitor saw a little jump in the room of excitement.” Visit to watch Frazer’s

winning oration and assigned topic, as well as an interview with the 75th Oratorical champion. Meanwhile, all 52 Oratorical participants

received a monetary award for their achievement and involvement in the contest. Everyone who participated in the quarterfi nals received a $1,500 scholarship, while the nine contestants who advanced to semifi nals received an additional $1,500. More importantly, Joseph Caouette, chairman of the Legion’s National Americanism Commission, provided remarks of encouragement to the candidates, emphasizing that “you are all champions. You did not lose here. Remember that.” Frazer now joins an elite group of Oratorical

champions. Review the list of past champions online.

Top: Indiana’s Rebecca Frazer delivers her winning oration, earning an $18,000 scholarship. Above: (from left) second-place fi nisher Charles Baines, Frazer, and third-place fi nisher John Donaldson IV. Tom Strattman

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