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Dallas Center Rotary Club starts flag program to raise scholarship funds

Becky Carlyle - Correspondent
Flags are getting ready to be placed on Monday, Sept. 7 for Labor Day as part of the Dallas Center Rotary's new flag program.

After losing the ability to host their normal Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser, due to COVID-19, Dallas Center’s Rotary Club needed to find a different way to raise money for the scholarships they provide to Dallas Center-Grimes students every year. They decided to start an American Flag Service Fundraiser to raise these funds.

“We also liked the appearances of the flags in Adel and Grimes,” Dallas Center’s Rotary President Mary Ireland said. “One of our members is also a member of the Grimes Lions Club and he suggested the project. The club liked the idea and the project took off.”

The Dallas Center Rotary informed the community about how to become a Founding Flag Family. They have been accepting applications, recording donations, building flags, marking flag locations, punching 18-inch PVC pole holders and distributing/retrieving flags on designated holidays.

Bob German drills the attachment holes for a flag pole.

“This year the ‘Families’ will donate $125 per flag to help purchase all the materials and to get the project off the ground,” Ireland said. “For this, they will receive service for the next five years.”

Beginning next year, families and businesses may receive flag services for $30 per year. 

Matt Ellerman, Matt Simpson, Laura and Earl Harris work to connect a flag for the Dallas Center Rotary Club.

The Dallas Center Rotary plans to accept new five-year ‘Founding Family’ applications through October for services beginning this Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11. Next year, they will begin accepting one-year subscriptions through early May for services beginning with Memorial Day, May 31.

“We hope to receive donations that will eventually place flags along the Raccoon River Valley Trail from one end of our town to the other and on every street and highway in town,” Ireland said. 

Tyler Lyon pounds in the hold punch for Dallas Center Rotary's new flag program.

Flags will be displayed on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veterans Day.

“They [the flags] will be located where requested by members of the ‘Founding Flag Families’ within the city limits of Dallas Center,” Ireland said. “Most are located near homes and businesses, but several have been placed in front of the homes of Veterans and widows of Veterans, as well as lining the bike trail through Dallas Center.”

Flags line the Raccoon River Valley Trail in Dallas Center as part of the Dallas Center Rotary Club's new flag program.

The Dallas Center Rotary put up 160 flags on Mon. Sept. 7 for Labor Day, starting around 6:30 a.m. A majority of the flags were placed by 7:15 a.m. Flags started being taken down at 6 p.m. because of rain in the area. 

“We have five three-person teams [made up of Rotarians and Dallas Center-Grimes High school students] who take a marked map of one section of town each,” Ireland said. “Flags are picked up at our storage location, placed in the early morning and retrieved before dusk.” 

A trailer with the first batch of flags to go up on Monday, Sept. 7 for the Labor Day holiday.

Ireland shared that their first goal with the flag program was to have some fun serving their community. Many people within the community have quickly endorsed the flag program. 

“We began in July hoping to receive enough revenue to build our first 100 flags,” Ireland said. “The community stepped forward so quickly that by August, we needed to build our second set of 100 flags and now it appears that we will need another 100 before Veterans Day.”

Members of the first 100 flag building team as part of the Dallas Center Rotary Club's new flag program.

They also wanted to help build a more cohesive community and increase the number of scholarships they can give each year.

To request an application for the American Flag Service, email DallasCenterRotary@gmail.com or call (515) 344-2074. The application needs to be returned with a check and the Rotarians will mark a proposed location for the One Call locator team. 

“If the family or business making the request would like a different spot, they may ask for a ‘re-do,’ Ireland said. “It is that easy.”

Bob German and John Mortimer mark a flag location in Dallas Center.

More information is available on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DallasCenterRotary/. Ireland shared they are an active club that does many things to support their community. They welcome new members.

“We hope Dallas County residents will pause on each of these holidays to recognize and appreciate the sacrifices our Veterans and their families have made to keep our country safe,” Ireland said. “Dallas Center is a progressive, family-friendly community that supports our children and respects our Veterans and their sacrifices and the flags help show that.”