Coronado Fourth Grader Wins National Armed Services YMCA Essay Contest

Brenna rounded

July 16, 2013- San Diego, CA Out of hundreds of applicants, Brenna Meehan of Coronado out-shined the competition in the the annual Armed Services YMCA Art and Essay Contest. Her essay entitled “My Military Hero” took 1st place out of the third and fourth grade division. On Thursday, July 11th, CAPT Paul Steffens USN (Ret.), Executive Director of the Armed Services YMCA San Diego, presented her with her prize: an Apple iPod touch. This contest is officially launched every November and allows military kids a chance to express their feelings about their unique role in a military family. Open to all eligible children of U.S. active duty or retired service members, there are hundreds of applicants each year.

“It was my pleasure to present Brenna with her first place prize. We are so proud to have a local winner,” says Steffens. “Her eloquence and pride for her military family was so clear in her essay and it was so touching to read.”

Meehan was in fourth grade at the time of application and lives in Coronado. Her father, CDR Lawrence E. Meehan, USN, serves in the Navy as a helicopter pilot and has been deployed multiple times.

“My father is optimistic and a great leader. He has tough days and works long hours but always makes people laugh,” says Brenna in her essay. “That is what a hero does. When he isn’t saving someone, he is trying to make sure people aren’t unhappy.”

Winners of both the art and essay contests have their winning entries displayed at 33 Armed Services YMCA Branches and affiliate locations, as well as military bases worldwide during Military Family Month in November, 2013. Winners also receive special Apple product prizes to help youth create and express themselves.

“Our annual art and essay contest allows children to express their love, appreciation and admiration for their military heroes,” said Mike Landers, CAPT, USN (Ret), and CEO of ASYMCA. “Their essays and artwork also serve to remind us of the sacrifices our men and women in uniform, and their families, make each day for our country.”

Certificate 1 round

Entries for the art contest depict the theme, “My Military Family.” Co-sponsored by GEICO, the art contest promotes art among children in grades K–6 of active duty or retired (with 20+ years of service) members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard/Reserves families. The Armed Services YMCA San Diego is the leading non-profit that makes military life easier for active duty service members and their families. The ASY San Diego gives military personnel and their loved ones the support and resources they need to be resilient, confident, connected, and secure. Founded in 1920 as a national affiliate of the YMCA, its mission is to enhance the lives of service members and their families in mind, body, and spirit . Through programs and services that are relevant to the unique challenges of military life, the ASY strengthens the military community. The ASY San Diego is, and always will be, dedicated to making military life easier. For more information, please visit

 Read Brenna’s Essay entitled “My Military Hero”.