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Hansen wins Armed Forces Day Ambassador title

Anibel America (right), a student at Bremerton High School and Armed Forces Festival Ambassador Program contestant, answers questions from Chris Larson and U.S. Navy Capt. Jonathan Dowell. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Anibel America (right), a student at Bremerton High School and Armed Forces Festival Ambassador Program contestant, answers questions from Chris Larson and U.S. Navy Capt. Jonathan Dowell.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Trevor Hansen of Hansville came away with the first prize Wednesday evening in the 2006 Armed Forces Festival Ambassadors Program, a ceremonial kickoff to next weekend’s 58th annual festival celebration.

Hansen showed tremendous poise and enthusiasm in his speech about a veteran now serving as a police officer, a man he has come to know well while serving as a lieutenant in the Bremerton Police Department Explorers program.

The six contestants for the honor each came with a laundry list of achievements. Hansen volunteered with Kitsap Regional Library, Awana Club and vacation bible school while earning awards from Americorps, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

“I’m really, really surprised and excited,” he said following the ceremony. “I go to school in Bremerton and live way up north, but this is my town at this point. It’s an honor to take part in the Armed Forces Festival.”

Following the contestants’ speeches about immigrants to America or veterans they had interviewed, they answered an impromptu question from emcees.

It was up to the judges to choose from a polished group. A mere few points separated each place from first through sixth.

After the $1,500 winning prize, second place and a $700 scholarship went to Diosa Werner, Miss Kitsap 2005 and a South Kitsap graduate. Asked about her plans for the next five years by host Cris Larsen, she said she would hope to combine her studies and her passion for dance.

“My ultimate goal is to be an accountant for the Disney company so I can dance on the weekends and cover both aspects of my life,” Werner said.

The third prize, a $500 scholarship, was awarded to Barbie Morris from Olympic High School, a young woman who has worked with the Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce and even had an award named for her by the Chamber.

Morris gave her speech about her mother, who grew up in a tiny village 14 miles north of Manila.

“She’s not only supported her family here in the U.S. and in the Philippines, she’s put all of her siblings through high school as well as four of them through college, allowing them to put food on the table for their families,” she said.

The fourth-place award and $300 in scholarship money went to Bremerton High School student and Guam native Anibel America. America interviewed a fellow Guamanian and compared their experiences in coming to the U.S. mainland.

“I was a newcomer and I was met with (an) initial shyness I had to overcome,” America said.

Central Kitsap honor student Carolyn Schuetz and Bremerton soccer captain Ashlea Olwell narrowly missed the cut to place. Schuetz interviewed a D-Day veteran with an interesting tale to tell and Olwell answered her impromptu question about her greatest gift solidly.

“Most girls don’t leave what they’re doing ... to go hunting with their fathers in the freezing cold,” Olwell said. “It’s my favorite gift. I’ll always love hunting. I hope to give this gift to my kids as well.”

Ambassadors also completed an essay on “What Freedom Means to Me,” with Hansen and Werner tying for the top prize, each receiving a $100 scholarship. Hansen also earned the award for distributing the most tickets to Wednesday evening’s event at the Keyport Naval Museum.

“I feel like my whole church is here with me,” he said.

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