Thursday, July 22, 2021

First Hill Essay Winner is Focused on Veterans

Submitted Photo
Sarah Kopec's conceptual design for a veterans memorial in Royersford.

Blogger's Note:
The following are specifics about one of two winners in the annual Shandy Hill Essay contest sponsored by the Greater Pottstown Foundation, which submitted this information. This post focuses on Sarah Kopec, a 2021 graduate of Owen J. Roberts High School.

Sarah Kopec’s essay was in the form of a letter entitled “Dearest American Soldier.” The greeting is a synecdoche representing anyone currently serving, or who has served, in any our country’s armed forces. 

In the letter Sarah addresses the agony, grief and trauma that are often experienced by our great heroes who have fought for our country. She also addresses the difficulties that many experience after coming back home, such as PTSD, latent feelings of grief and/or depression, as well as the hardships faced resulting from the endurance of physical injuries. 

She reminds us that these conditions often lead to the inability to successfully fit back into society and the inability to maintain gainful employment. Such conditions also lead to homelessness, in numbers far greater than many of us would imagine.

Sarah Kopec is congratulated by
Paul Prince of the Greater
Pottstown Foundation.
In her essay Sarah acknowledges the many programs and memorials within the Greater Pottstown Area that honor and help veterans of the armed forces, like the Southeast Veteran’s Center, other local veterans volunteer outreach programs, special events dedicated to honoring veterans and raising funds for various support programs, and Pottstown’s Memorial Park with its Walk of Honor that recognizes those having served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and more. 

Kopec attributes these positive attributes of our local veteran programs to the unity and inclusive spirit of the people who reside in the Greater Pottstown Community. However, at the same time, she reminds us that there is so much more that needs done to help support our veteran heroes. To that end, Sarah herself is personally active in veteran support groups, and has attended events and meetings in various communities around the Pottstown area.

Graphic art is a talent and a hobby of Sarah’s, so when a local Vietnam veteran recently asked if she could help implement a veteran’s memorial in Royersford, Sarah dug right in. She went so far as to learn some digital design techniques so that, working with a professional architect, she was able to design a realistic schematic for the project, including landscaping, pathways, flags, lighting, and the memorial itself. The project has been approved by the borough council with current plans to locate the proposed memorial along 1st Avenue, near the Schuylkill River bridge connecting Royersford and Spring City. Fund raising for the project is currently well underway.

Sarah has been accepted at Messiah University, in Mechanicsburg, where she intends to undertake dual majors in Business Administration, and Nutrition and Dietetics, including a minor in Health and Exercise Science. 

She also intends to participate in the University’s National Championship Women’s Soccer team. One cannot help but wonder how any student can successfully accomplish all of that at the same time. 

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