On Sunday, June 14, which is “Flag Day,” the local non-profit “Flags Over Fayette” group will once again be distributing flags throughout Fayette County.
According to Flags Over Fayette President Steven Armstrong, the non-profit raises funds for local groups that assist veterans and find ways to show love and support for the nation. Last year when Flags over Fayette began, approximately 1,500 small flags were placed in yards along the main roads in Washington C.H.
This year, Armstrong and approximately 100 volunteers will be lining the major city streets with 2,000 flags. Streets such as Dayton Avenue, Leesburg Avenue, Columbus Avenue, Clinton Avenue, etc. will be included.
“Last year it was a pretty big hit,” explained Armstrong in a video he made and uploaded to social media. “We got coverage from T.V. stations in Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus as well as locally. City council — they bought all new flags to put downtown this year to support us. It’s a really neat thing to see — 2,000 flags around, and it’s a great source of pride for our community. And it’s something maybe, hopefully, we can be known for someday. Maybe be known as ‘the city of flags.’ Just something to create a positive outlook on our town.”
Armstrong suggested that those not on major streets can help in the efforts by placing a flag, even a smaller $2 flag, in their own yard, by posting pictures of flags on social media, by being positive, whatever “shows some love and positivity.”
He also suggested that what community members shouldn’t do is contact the volunteers trying to distribute the 2,000 flags to ask for a flag to be brought to a specific house
“I spent $3,000 dollars on flags,” said Armstrong. “Unfortunately, we can’t provide flags for everybody in the county. That would be an extreme expense. So, what you can do is buy a flag yourself or better yet, be a leader. Go to Walmart, go to Ace Hardware, spend $20 dollars, buy 10 flags, and provide flags for your street. If each of us steps up and takes care of our own little area, before you know it it’ll be a pretty impressive thing.”
Many flags from last year were unable to be saved and used again. Armstrong explained that of the 1,500 they had purchased and used in 2019, 500 of the flags were retired due to poor quality, there were flags on two streets stolen, and the rest were torn or broken. The flags for this year were purchased from www.usflagstore.com/.
Many of the volunteers that will be seen walking around town on Sunday, June 14 will be local youths.
“Show your support,” said Armstrong. “Say thank you, honk your horns.”
Donations to Flags over Fayette are welcome. According to Armstrong, all money stays local and gets donated to help local veterans. This year, the beneficiaries of Flags over Fayette will be the VFW Riders as well as the Blue Star Mothers of America.
“Both groups do amazing things for our local veterans and our service people,” said Armstrong.
As previously reported, after the pandemic began when items in stores became sparse, and people were concerned about at-risk members of the community getting ill, the local VFW Riders Post 3762 took it upon themselves to purchase food and collect donations from different stores throughout the county, and then deliver care packages to the elderly and disabled in the community who requested assistance. Near the end of March along with every week in April, the organization underwent $1,000 worth of shopping and on Saturdays would deliver 50 care packages. They also delivered care packages to healthcare workers following a large donation. The non-profit can be followed on its Facebook page, “VFW Riders Post 3762.”
Blue Star Mothers of America is also a non-profit, and according to its website www.bluestarmothers.org, the organization consists of “mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, foster mothers and female legal guardians who have children serving in the military, guard or reserves, or children who are veterans. We support each other and our children while promoting patriotism.” As previously reported, the local chapter, “Hearts Hands Home,” began in July of last year and services Fayette County along with the surrounding area. The non-profit can be followed on its Facebook page, “Hearts Hands Home Blue Star Mothers.”
One of the more recent projects, “Flags of Freedom,” that “Flags over Fayette” started this year, allowed community members to purchase a subscription for $50 a year where volunteers would come around to place 10-foot flag poles in yards for certain holidays and times to show unity, then remove the flags to store them between displays. Community members could also buy subscriptions for others, especially if they wanted to honor a veteran. All proceeds from subscriptions go to the beneficiaries. According to Armstrong, approximately 46 flags were subscribed to, and the non-profit has approximately 16 flags left for those who wish to subscribe.
“As we all know, 2020 has been a brutal, brutal year so far. With coronavirus, with school closings, with runaways, with job losses, with the sickening and terrible murder in Minnesota — our community, our nation, our world is really struggling right now,” said Armstrong. “But, if I know anything, Americans and more specifically Fayette Countians, are very resilient, and when times are tough we rally together for common good. I’ve always believed that we can’t change the world all at once or by ourselves, but what we can do is make sure that we, personally, individually, are doing the right things. If we’re taking care of ourselves and doing the best we can each day, we spread that to our homes. Make our home a better place, make our family a better place — maybe that spreads to our neighbors, maybe that spreads to the street. Our community becomes a better place and maybe someday, hopefully, our world will be a better place to live in.”
The non-profit can be followed for updates on the Facebook Page “Flags Over Fayette – Public.”
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMwoods.