Shoemaker-Haydt American Legion Post 314, Lehighton, celebrated the American Legion's 94th birthday during an awards program held Monday at the Legion Post.

Harry J. Wynn III, master of ceremonies, welcomed honorees and introduced guests before dinner.

Recognized were a Lehighton police officer, fourth-grade winners of the Americanism essay contest and members who maintained their memberships for 50 and 60 years.

In recognition of his 13 years of outstanding service to the community, Robert DeFuso was presented the Police Officer of the Year award. He was also presented a commendation from the American Legion.

Officer DeFuso attended the event with his wife, Nicole. DeFuso thanked the Legion for its support of the community.

Recognized were five fourth-grade Americanism essay winners. The theme this year was "What Freedom I Enjoy the Most." The students wrote a 150-250 word essay on this topic.

Winners were, David Anthony Cressley, son of Jessica and Daniel Cressley, representing Shull David Elementary School; Isabella Miklus, daughter of Tony and Jen Miklus, representing Mahoning Elementary School; Cameron Ahner, son of Laurie and Kyle Ahner, representing Franklin Elementary School; Gabrielle Cadden-James, daughter of Colleen and Carl Cadden-James, representing East Penn Elementary School; and Luke Behler, son of Ryan and Pam Behler, representing Ss. Peter and Paul School.

Honored for 60 and 50 years of membership in the Lehighton American Legion were, Gene Durigan, Marvin Smith, Carl Redline and Richard D. Semmel, 60 years; and Ronald Kane, Clair Andreas, Robert F. Bowman, Donald L. Blauch and William E. McKissick, 50 years.

Wynn said that the members who have sustained long memberships are the backbone of the Legion.