American Hero Essay Contest

Alyssa Christoffers, Moorhead MN

Miles Hofer, Huron SD

Grand Prize

Team entry (2 person) into the Wounded Warriors Ice Tournament, Woodland Resort Devils Lake ND January 15/16. Lodging included at Woodland Resort. (Gear provided if needed) Publication in Dakota Country Magazine, and local newspapers. An opportunity to read your submission on American Heroes Outdoors TV.

  • Top 5 submissions will receive an American Heroes Outdoors T-Shirt and Decal
  • All participants will receive an American Heroes Outdoors Decal

General Guidelines

Freedom is different for everyone. Tell us what it means to you and let us know why you have the freedom you do today.






Recently American Heroes Outdoors TV along with Woodland Resort and Dakota Country Magazine sponsored a writing contest for youth. The writers only guideline was to talk about what freedom means to them.

All too often freedom is overcomplicated with analysis and abused as an excuse for one’s actions. By limiting the age group for the contest we were able to bring freedom back to the basics.

The raw wisdom and honesty in the essays made reading them very special… which in turn made selecting a winner difficult. In our eyes every single submission was worthy of a blue ribbon and we were proud to read their thoughts. However, for the sake of the contest we whittled it down to two and from there we decided to choose two winners.

Both Alyssa’s and Miles’ entries talked about freedom and what the word itself meant. They both talked about specific examples in their own lives but one thing remained the same, just as it had in all the other entries: Writers talked about the price paid for freedom. They talked about Heroes who have sacrificed for our freedom.

Someone once defined a Hero as, “An ordinary person facing extraordinary circumstances and acting with courage, honor, and self-sacrifice.” They couldn’t be more right, and as we read essay after essay we realized that our writers nailed it. No matter what freedom means to each of us there are people who will do anything necessary to secure that freedom. This selflessness is why we are the greatest nation in the world.

As Veterans Day draws near we would like to offer these essays as a way of saying thank you to so many men and women who have sacrificed for freedom.

American Heroes Outdoors TV is a Television series operated by a non-profit company that showcases veterans, police, first responders and veterans organizations. It focuses on their stories and show viewers the amazing aspects of the great outdoors.

Check us out at

What Freedom Means to my Family
by Miles Hofer, 9
Huron, SD
Parents, Becky and Toby Hofer

Freedom means many things to my family.

My dad, my mom and I all have different ideas of freedom. Dad believes freedom is to snowmobile and to hunt. Freedom means you can go to different churches. He says many families don’t get to do that in other countries.

My mom says freedom means that no matter where you come from you have a chance to make your own future. Mom thinks freedom means opportunity. Mom thinks that God gave everybody free will.

I say freedom is an opportunity that most countries don’t have yet, but I think about those soldiers as heroes. Freedom of speech and freedom of protest are in America’s laws. Not every country has that.

Freedom means many things to my family. I am happy because I have freedom. I am thankful to are troops for protecting are freedom. America is land the free because of the brave.


by Alyssa Chirstoffers, 13
Moorhead, MN
Mom is Collette Christoffers


Freedom to me means pride. We take pride in what we fight for. We are proud in our nation. Our flag symbolizes our country and we are proud in all of the wars and conflicts we have overcome throughout the years.

The song “I’m Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood says in its lyrics “ ‘cause the flag still stands for freedom”.

Our nation’s flag reminds me of the people who fought and are fighting for our country and our freedom. I remember singing this song in elementary school, and when the song hit the chorus, all the kids would belt it out. I felt pride in those moments.

I can’t imagine what it would feel like to not be free. I’ve lived in the United States all of my life and I don’t realize how good my life is. When I hear about other country’s conflict and what they are going through, I’m glad I live in the United States and that I have the rights I do.

I’m proud of our nation and I’m proud of the soldiers who fight and fought for our country. America is a great and awesome nation, and I’m proud to be part of it. We should all be proud in our nation and we should be proud to be an American.


Announcing the
Booker T. Washington - American Hero
Essay Contest

Want to motivate youths in your community to live, learn, and lead successfully?
    Here's your chance! ... co-sponsor an essay contest for middle schoolers in your community!

"After reading about Booker T. Washington and the obstacles he faced, what have you learned, and how will you meet obstacles you may encounter in your own life?"
(This can help youths think about struggles that BTW experienced, how to overcame them, and how the motivating principles of the Booker T. Way can help them succeed in life.)

Imagine the inspiration and 'spark' you will provide to the future leaders and members in your own community. Here are the rules, prizes, and how to go about it... It's easy!

Contest Rules

      1) Open to Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers (5th-12th grades).
      2) 15 students (min) in any one grade from any one school to participate.
      3) Essays must be typed or clearly handwritten.
                (estimated / recommended essay length:
          5-6th grade: 250-300 words;   7-8th: 300-350 words;   high schoolers: 400-500 words.

      4) Essays will be judged by grade within the school.
            (To insure local peer-to-peer evaluations, a local service club, such as Rotary, Kiwanis,
              or the Booker T. Boosters Club, is asked to co-sponsor and judge.

Contest Prizes

      1) Essay Winners' Prizes* Award: $50, Runner-up: $25.
      2) Awards and Certificates will be presented by local co-sponsoring organization.
      3) Winning essays may be displayed on the BTW Society's national website.
          *co-sponsors have discretion to change prize amounts.

How it works:*

If you are a parent, principal, teacher, local service club member...
1) Contact the BTW Society here to indicate your interest and obtain more information.
2) Contact a school Principal, guidance counselor, or teacher in your area
to offer this essay contest to their students at no cost to them!
3) Order booklets: BTW--American Hero (min bulk order: 20 @ $1.50ea.)
4) Contact a local community service club to co-sponsor by,
a) providing judges to read the essays and/or,
b) purchasing BTW-American Hero booklets or providing prizes.

*If unfamiliar with schools or service clubs in your area, just contact the Society.
  We will compile and send you a list of local schools/service orgs with contact info

Conducting the Contest:

1) Announce contest with essay deadline.
2) Give a copy of BTW--American Hero to each student who chooses to enter.
(be sure to allow 2-3 weeks for student to read about BTW and write essay.)
3) Students hand essays in to teacher.
4) Teacher forwards essays to you and/or service club.
5) Service club 'jury' picks the winners and notifies school and BTW Society.
6) BTW Society mails certificates, with local club's logo, to co-sponsor
for presentation during a school assembly or other appropriate time/place.
7) Co-sponsoring club/organization issues news release.

Click here to download this Essay Contest info sheet. is beneficial to all concerned!

      Children benefit from learning, thinking, and writing about living right.
      Schools benefit from reinforcing the development of positive character habits.
      Service Clubsbenefit from helping children in their community and positive publicity:

With thanks... Caring Friends (Houston), who came up with the idea to use BTW -- American Hero" to help kids focus on how, no matter what their own circumstances may be, they can overcome struggles in their own lives. John J. Pershing Middle School students in Houston participated!

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