FORT BRAGG, N.C. - September was National Preparedness Month, a nationwide effort to educate and prepare Families across America for unplanned catastrophes.

Fort Bragg in its continued efforts to prepare the earlier generations, hosted its second annual National Preparedness contest. The intent of the contest was to give Fort Bragg students the opportunity express what National Preparedness meant to them using different mediums.

"The contest has grown over the past two year," said Calvin McKenzie, Directorate of Plans, Training and Mobilization. "Last year when we started, there were only like 12 students participating and they were from one school. This year we have 153 kids participating from Holbrook Elementary, Butner Elementary and Shughart Elementary. The interest is increasing and so is the awareness."

The increased interest helps better educate the students, said McKenzie, who believes the best part about the contest is that it keeps preparedness in the spotlight and it forces students to have real discussions about the issue.

"Next year we hope to continue to grow the competition on a national level." said McKenzie. Students will compete on installation level first and the winner will go on to compete on a national level with other installations.

Each project is evaluated and judged by an independent panel of judges who have no affiliation to any of the schools involved.

This year's winner was Yomaris Martinez, 11, a Holbrook Elementary School student. She put together a poster that demonstrated the things that are most vital to her in the event of a natural disaster -- a flashlight, radio, fresh water and canned food are all great items to have in an emergency situation, said Martinez.

For her hard work Martinez was awarded an emergency backpack, a certificate, and a short wave radio for being this year's National Preparedness winner.

"I would like to be a doctor someday," said Martinez, who has lofty goals and plans works hard to reach them.

Page last updated Fri October 21st, 2011 at 00:00