Flags for Heroes celebrating 10 years in Lewisburg

Apr. 20—LEWISBURG — The Sunrise Rotary Club is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Flags for Heroes program this year.

Started in 2014, the fundraiser displays the American flags on Route 15 near the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau on land now owned by Evangelical Community Hospital. Heroes can be military service personnel, first responders, essential workers, teachers, friends, family members or whoever is a hero to the donor.

"While Marty Gates and I were on vacation in 2014, we drove past the Cape Henlopen High School near Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and stopped the car to get out to take pictures of a most inspiring sight," said Club member Swan Stull. "There were scores of U.S. flags on the lawn of the high school right before Memorial Day. The display was a fundraiser by the Rotary Club of Lewes/Rehoboth area to provide services to the community. The club was most generous in giving us information about the resources needed to get started. We took the project to our home district and offered the same help to get other clubs started."

For individual sponsors, the club asks for $50 per hero named. For business/organization sponsors, the price is either $250 for a quarter page advertisement or $500 for a full page. Each sponsor gets an ad in a booklet, which is mailed to all donors in June. They also are listed in a full-page advertisement in The Daily Item over Memorial Day weekend, according to Club member Susan Jamison.

"We use the proceeds to support local community nonprofits and also our Youth Initiatives," said Jamison.

Since 2014, the club has provided a total of $48,500 to 22 local organizations, including Central Susquehanna Mediation Center, DIG Furniture Bank, the Donald Heiter Community Center, Evangelical Community Hospital, and others.

"Not included in that list are the Youth Initiatives, as that money is given out throughout the year," said Jamison. "For example, we honor a Sun Tech Student of the Month from September through May and give them a check and a certificate. They have a wall of honor at the school with photos of the recipients.

"Some years we sponsor an exchange student (hosting one or sending one to another country), and these funds help with that. We have also sent high school students to RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) where they learn leadership skills. As an example, two of the students who attended RYLA have done an amazing job of putting those skills to good use."

All sponsorships need to be received by May 15 to guarantee they get published. The flags are put up just prior to Memorial Day weekend, and remain up until Flag Day (June 14), weather permitting, said Jamison.