For the Reporter
During the recent Fourth of July celebration at Les Gove Park, VFW Post 1741 manned a booth to support the nationally recognized Flags for Food Banks program.
Bill Peloza, a former Post 1741 commander and City Councilmember, began the project in 2008.
Post members collected and replaced 10 worn American flags and passed out other flags of different sizes, flag etiquette booklets, and pencils with the Pledge of Allegiance on them to children.
The children were also provided treats for demonstrating patriotic behavior, like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance from memory. VFW members also collected $337, which will be turned over to the Auburn Food Bank. Envelopes were passed out for those without cash on hand to send donations directly to the food bank.
Frank Bannister, the Post’s past commander, planned and organized the event to make a connection between patriotism and community service by using the national flag as a symbol of caring and help.
Bannister said he was “motivated by the Community Service Grant from VFW national headquarters that funds local VFW Post community service projects.”
The application process was simple, and VFW national officials responded quickly with enough funds to sponsor several community events.
In April, VFW Post 1741 co-sponsored a District 11 VFW Loyalty Day Event with VFW Post 1949 at its post in Enumclaw. Bannister and Tony Whetstine, commander of the VFW Post 1741, helped set up and provide refreshments for the 50-plus personnel in attendance.
Several members from other posts in District 11 and a local Boy Scout troop provided the manpower to properly dispose of more than 150 flags.
Bannister added: “The Boy Scouts were given flag etiquette training along with the 4H Club members from Puyallup, who assisted District Commander Tracy Williams with a presentation that provided the background and history for the 27 different versions of the American Flag that have represented our country since 1776.
“I was proud of the youth, who demonstrated real enthusiasm and commitment for demonstrating what it takes to be a proud American.”