The blustery wind Sunday did not deter the Chestertown Rotary and Washington College Rotaract clubs from mustering to deploy their first round of Flags for Heroes 2020 at the Washington College hayfield at Md. 213 and Morgnec Road.

This is the fourth year of the program, which is part of efforts by Rotary clubs across the nation. Enter “flags for heroes” in your search engine and you will appreciate the national impact. Mid Shore Community Foundation has partnered with local Rotary clubs to help expand the reach of this project.

Flags for Heroes serves several important goals. It has created an opportunity to for each of us to honor personal heroes – persons who have made a positive impact on our lives.  In the past, I have honored wartime veterans in my family.  In the age of COVID-19, we have asked many to take heroic efforts to help our collective efforts in this trying time.

On today’s frontlines, we recognize the most visible – the veterans, active duty service members, law enforcement officers and firefighters.

Less visible to the public are the heroic efforts of health care workers in the fray of the disease, and individuals such as the volunteers of the Social Action Committee for Racial Justice which has ensured a steady supply of food for Kent elderly and children. They have also fielded an army of face mask makers. And let’s recognize our local public and private school administrators and teachers who worked tirelessly to make online learning a reality in short order.

Flags for Heroes is also a fundraising effort that has raised almost $20,000 in proceeds from flag sponsorship. The funds are donated to local veterans’ groups and other worthy causes.  For a $50 donation, individuals and businesses can sponsor a 3-by-5-foot American flag that will stand 8 feet tall. The list of sponsors and their heroes will appear in local publications for Memorial Day Weekend. Corporate sponsors who contribute $250 will also be prominently acknowledged for their support on the project’s website. Contributions are tax deductible.

For the community, Flags for Heroes has another important purpose: broadcasting the importance of Memorial Day. As in the past, we will watch the field of flags grow to its peak on Memorial Day.

Andy Meehan, who chairs the project, gets to the heart of the Flags for Heroes project:

“Our intent is to honor Memorial Day and to help inspire our fellow citizens to reflect upon what it is truly about. We must never forget that Memorial Day is first and foremost a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of our nation. This year’s theme is ‘Honoring Community & Country.’  Over the years I have encountered many wonderful people who have amazing stories to tell. They are grateful for the chance to honor their heroes in a dignified fashion, personified by the field of flags.”

The project also is a reminder of the important work the Chestertown Rotary Club and the Washington College Rotaract Club does throughout the year. Founded and chartered in 1926 and celebrating its 94th anniversary, the Chestertown Rotary Club is part of Rotary International’s District 7630. For ninety-four years its members have been volunteering their time and talents to support local worthy causes and to exemplify the Rotary International motto of “Service Above Self.” The Washington College Rotaract Club has been a successful avenue for a life of community service.

The Kent Pilot encourages you to support the effort. Don’t delay. Visit the Chestertown Rotary Flags for Heroes website today.

Photos courtesy of the Chestertown Rotary Club. Feature Image: Ed Birkmire.