“Flags for Heroes” to Return

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Chestertown Rotary Club and the Washington College Rotaract chapter are again sponsoring the “Flags for Heroes” program.

Planting American flags along the junction of Washington Avenue and Morgnec Road, the two clubs will honor the community’s heroes – whether someone who served in the military, a first responder, a teacher, or anyone else whose actions and example made a difference in someone’s life.

Andy Meehan, president of Chestertown Rotary, and Priya Dutt, president of the Washington College Rotaract, met with Spy editors May 5 to describe the program, now in its second year locally. Meehan said the flags will be on display from the college’s commencement day through Memorial Day weekend, May 18 to 30. The flags make a magnificent scene as they stand in the field on the outskirts of town.  They provide a wonderful first or last view of Chestertown for people going in and out of town.  Meehan said that May 18 was chosen for the first day of the display in order to coordinate with Washington College’s graduation day, thus making the flags the first thing many parents will see as they come to Chestertown for their students’ graduation and the last thing the students may see as they leave Chestertown and Washington College. Over Memorial Day weekend, a list of the heroes for whom the flags were planted will be published on the Chestertown Spy website.

Priya Dutt of Washington College Rotaract Club and Andy Meehan of the Chestertown Rotary Club describe the “Flags for Heroes” program, returning for its second year in Chestertown.

The purpose of the program is to raise funds for veterans’ groups and other worthy causes. Individuals or businesses can sponsor a flag for $50. “We did this last year and it was very successful,” Meehan said. “We had over 140 flags flying in the field. It was really embraced by the community. People came up to me many times and thanked us for doing this. It really is an impressive display.”

The 3-by-5 foot flags will be arranged in a geometrically perfect array created by former Rotary president Paul Heckles. Meehan said the goal this year is to place 200 flags. Anyone interested in placing a flag in honor of their personal hero can sign up at www.chestertownrotaryflags4heroes.com.

The Rotary Club has teamed up with Midshore Community Foundation to handle the finances for the program. Donors can pay for their flags online with a credit card. All donations to the program are tax-deductible charity contributions, Meehan said.

Meehan said the Washington College Rotaract Club is a big part of the program, installing and maintaining the flags as well as taking part in the fundraising.  Rotaract clubs are the college branch of Rotary International.

The Rotaract Club also participates in the Rotary’s international charitable efforts, as well as supporting Interact, the Rotary program for high school students. Dutt, a Junior originally from Cambridge, said the club participates in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program. She especially enjoys working with the local high school students. This year the two clubs went to the annual retreat in Ocean City, at which the Washington College Rotaract members serve as camp counselors for Interact members from Kent, Talbot, and Dorchester counties.

The Kent County High School Interact club is very large and very active, said Meehan. He said the three clubs try to work together on projects whenever possible, though scheduling can be tricky when school is in session. “I look forward to doing more of that,” he said. “I look at the three clubs as partners in service.”

So look for the flags across the street from Walgreen’s starting May 18 – better yet, recognize one of your heroes by supporting Flags for Heroes.

Flags for Heroes will be on display at the junction of Washington Avenue and Morgnec Road, across from Walgreen’s, from May 18 through Memorial Day, May 30. You can sponsor a flag for the heroes in your life at www.chestertownrotaryflags4heroes.com.  Organized through the joint effort of Chestertown Rotary and Washington College Rotaract.

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