Skip to main content

Highland County veterans earn national recognition in arts competition

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
John Payne, left, and Gerold (Buzzard) Wilkin have received national awards for their entries in the 2024 National Veterans Creative Arts Competition. Click through the photos below to see their projects. (Photos courtesy of Gerold Wilkin)
The Highland County Press

Two Highland County veterans have received recognition for their creative arts entries in the 2024 National Veterans Creative Arts Competition.

John Payne and Gerold (Buzzard) Wilkin — both of whom won awards in the Chillicothe VA’s local arts competition — advanced to the national level, where both placed third. 

Payne, a former Highland County Veterans Service Office Commissioner, was recognized in the Art division, Wood Building Kit category, with his model train. 

Wilkin, a Vietnam War veteran and active member of numerous local veterans organizations, took third in the Drama division, Multimedia category, with his “Broken Wing Tribute: The Fallen Sons of Highland County” plaque. The plaque also includes a poem Wilkin wrote in memory of Highland County’s soldiers killed in the Vietnam War.

According to information provided by Wilkin, the national competition included “over 6,000 entries … by nearly 3,000 veterans with 125 VA facilities participating in the competition.” 
“Across the country each year, veterans enrolled at VA health care facilities compete in a local creative arts competition,” according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “The competition includes categories in the visual arts division that range from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are categories in writing as well as the performing arts of dance, drama, and music. 

“Local creative arts competition top winning entries advance to a national judging process and first, second and third place entries are determined at the national level. First-place winning veterans are invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival hosted by a different VA facility each year.”

For more information, go to:….

Publisher's note: A free press is critical to having well-informed voters and citizens. While some news organizations opt for paid websites or costly paywalls, The Highland County Press has maintained a free newspaper and website for the last 25 years for our community. If you would like to contribute to this service, it would be greatly appreciated. Donations may be made to: The Highland County Press, P.O. Box 849, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133. Please include "for website" on the memo line.


Add new comment

This is not for publication.
This is not for publication.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it. Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.