American Legion Post 403 is composed of members from the Booneville, DeSoto, Earlham, Van Meter, Waukee, and West Des Moines communities.
The Post level of the national American Legion Oratorical Contests was held on Dec.7, at the new Post building at 910 Main Street, Van Meter. (The building also serves as the (1) Veterans Reception Center for family gatherings after the veteran Committal Service at the State of Iowa Veterans Cemetery (2) as a building for community functions for profit and non-profit organizations, (3) area citizens family gatherings, and (4) Van Meter city government meetings.) This was the 10th Annual Contest for Post 403 and is the seventy-seventh Contest for the National American Legion.
The Contest features area high school students presenting speeches they have prepared relating to the U.S. Constitution and its’ Amendments. The winner of the 2013 Post 403 Oratorical Contest was Emma Skahill. Emma will receive a $500 scholarship upon graduation as a senior and will also receive another $200 Post scholarship for participating in Dallas County competition, and another $300 Post scholarship for participating in American Legion Sixth District Contest to be held on Jan. 19, 2014 at the Baldwin Patterson Post #274 at 2211 E. 42nd Avenue in Des Moines, IA. The Sixth District Contest will start promptly at 2:00 p.m. The other Post 403 contestants also receive scholarships of $400, $300, $200, and $100. Post 403 considers all five students as winners– as the students help the Post accomplish one of its’ Post goals – "Provide educational opportunity to our youth so they may better understand the meaning of serving our country and community."
Additional help for the Post Contest was given by community members Marva DeBoer, Sharon Garvey, Elaine Merical, Marilyn Smith, and Dave Tapps and Post members Terry Clark, Toby Cozad, Wayne Dunbar, Keith Gunzenhauser, Mark Kamm, Chuck Smith, Terry Vande Kamp, Gary Wemer, and Post Commander Marsha Whiteaker. The Post Contest was also supported by Van Meter High School education staff of Ann Allen, Deron Durflinger, Adam Lamoureux, and Jessica Rabe.