Monday, November 29, 2021

Reserve Flags for Heroes Now

Submitted Photo | Linda Sandlin.


The Rotary Club of Marco Island Noontime, in partnership with the YMCA, is offering an opportunity to honor your personal hero through an exhibit Flags for Heroes. Pay tribute to your hero with a flag, among a spectacular display of hundreds of American flags, each marked with a special medallion. 

The field on the corner of San Marco Road and Sandhill, next to the YMCA, will be filled with hundreds of American flags from February 14 through February 19, which includes Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. 

The idea for the beautiful tribute was brought to the club by Alan Sandlin. While attending Rotary’s President-Elect training in Orlando, Alan focused on the Rotary Marketplace which offers ideas and opportunities for Rotary Clubs. A booth with a dramatic photo of hundreds of flags flying caught his eye. Alan introduced himself and asked to hear the story. Steve Cropper, the founder of the Flags for Heroes idea, explained he developed the idea 5 years ago. Since that time, it has been used in 20 states by over 250 Rotary, Lions Clubs, VFW’s, American Legions and churches as a successful fundraiser.  

Steve explained that heroes are recognized by flying an American flag in their honor. Heroes come from all walks of life, those serving in the military, our first responders including police, fire, EMS, doctors, nurses, and teachers, clergy, neighbors, coworkers, those in public service and of course, family. The list of heroes in our lives and community is endless! 

Who is your hero? If you ask one hundred different people, you could get one hundred different answers. There are so many heroes to thank in our lives, each deserving of our recognition. That is what Flags for Heroes does.  

For $50 you can pay tribute to the hero of your choice. Alan immediately thought it was an amazing idea! It goes along with Rotary’s Service Above Self motto in recognizing people’s service and it’s a beautiful patriotic community event to bring people together,” Alan said. “A display with hundreds of 5’ X 3’ American flags on 7’ tall masts will be a spectacular sight. Plus, it will be a great fundraiser! With most events canceled this year, every penny will go to this community’s critical needs. Our Rotary Club was immediately on board to execute this fabulous event.” 

After viewing potential sites on the island, it was agreed the best site for Flags for Heroes event is the huge vacant land the YMCA owned in a highly visible area along San Marco Road. The Y gave their approval and agreed to co-sponsor the event! 

So, how will you know which flag is meant to honor YOUR hero? An inscribed medallion will be placed at the base of each flag with the sponsors information and who they intend to honor. When the exhibit is over the medallion is yours to keep.


What Do Some Say About Their Heroes?  

“We should never ever forget the brave men and women who fought for us so many years ago!!! Joseph Kennedy NAVY, Richard Enstrom USMC.” ~ K. Enstrom 

“The people who are my heroes are the ones I love most for all they contribute to my life as well as others. My Mom, MaryAnn, taught me everything about life and was the strongest, kindest and toughest person in the world. My wife Jill because of her incredible heart and joy she brings to everyone’s life. If you are lucky enough to know her you understand… AJ and Charlie, Son and Grandson, continue to show me how to enjoy life every day and be the best person I can be. Lastly, but certainly not least, is my daughter Samantha who I gave up for adoption when she was 4, long story, but is still my little princess and hero. I have learned recently that she has become a Pediatric Nurse and shares my love of travel, beaches, mountains. My Hero’s shaped my life, impacted me greatly and are the greatest people in world to me.” Arne Sandberg 

“My hero, Pat Rutledge, has shown me how to be strong, independent, brave, courageous, and have a huge heart, because she models that for me every day.” Susan Pernini 



The dates are February 14th through February 19th. This will encompass Sunday, Valentine’s Day, so some sponsors may wish to buy their sweetheart a flag for Valentine’s Day. February 17th is President’s Day, another appropriate patriotic day to be flying hundreds of flags and paying tribute to heroes. The last day for applications to pay tribute to your hero with a flag in the Flags for Heroes is fast approachingDecember 11th! Contact Linda Sandlin at 239777-9200, or email her at You can also go to 



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