EASTON — The Rotary Club of Easton awarded more than $50,000 in grants to 16 organizations that honor and support veterans, first responders and those who serve in Talbot County, during its eighth annual Flags for Heroes Awards Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 21, at The Milestone.

Flags for Heroes is an annual event that provides an amazing visual display of American flags throughout the town of Easton during Memorial Day weekend. Flags are placed at the Talbot County Community Center, Idlewild Park and Black & Decker Field.

The Flags for Heroes event engages the entire community and serves as a reminder of the true meaning of Memorial Day — a time to remember, celebrate and recognize the heroes who have served and sacrificed for our freedom.

The display has grown from 500 flags to more than 1,000 and has raised more than $350,000.

Jackie Wilson, Easton Rotary Flags for Heroes co-chairman, said when they started Flags for Heroes in 2012, they “could have only imagined how this initiative would grow and touch so many members of our community.”

“From honoring our heroes through the displays of flags to supporting critical programs that serve our local heroes, we are thankful for the support of everyone who makes this possible,” Wilson said.

The 2019 awards were the largest amount ever given in a single year.

This year’s awardees included the Civil Air Patrol, Easton High School Junior ROTC, Lady Patriots of the Eastern Shore, Talbot Hospice Veteran’s Programs, Mid-Shore Recovering Vets, St. Vincent DePaul, Talbot County Killed In Action War Memorial, Talbot County Sheriff’s Office, Easton Police Department, Easton Volunteer Fire Department, Talbot Paramedic Foundation, For All Seasons Veterans Programming, Operation Open Arms, Richards Memorial Park, Spring Hill Cemetery and the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department.

Vivian Dodge of Talbot Hospice shared the story of recent veteran recognition programs Flags for Heroes helped support, saying, “No matter their age, medical condition or mentation, duty and service are ingrained in our veterans.”

”During a recent veterans event, one of our dementia patients with the inability to comprehend was able to stand and recite part of the Pledge of Allegiance,” Dodge said. “We also hosted an intimate veteran recognition ceremony for one of our patients who just days prior had experienced a significant decline in his health, and yet he was able to summon the strength to salute back to his fellow veterans who were honoring him.”

Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble, who accepted a monetary award to go toward two new sheriff K-9s, said during the celebration that each shift now will have a K-9 unit attached to it.

Gamble said there will be a dog and deputy available at all times to intercept drugs passing through Talbot County and keep them off the streets and away from citizens, especially youth.

The Lady Patriots of the Eastern Shore raised the majority of the funds for the fourth dog. Flags for Heroes helped them meet their goal and then gave additional funds to the sheriff’s office to purchase the fifth dog.

Each of the new dogs will be trained in drug detection and missing-person tracking.

Flags for Heroes sponsors that contributed $1,000 included Aqua Pools & Spa, Dawkins Management, Inc., Lewis Auto Body Shop, LLC, Livingston Septic Services, Inc., Londonderry on the Tred Avon, the Easton Group at Morgan Stanley, Paulson Investment Group, Pixel Print & Post, Preston Automotive Group and Willow Construction.

Sponsors who contributed $500 included Jack and Nancy Anthony, The Car Pool, Easton Family YMCA, Easton Fit4Life, Ewing, Dietz, Fountain & Kaludis, Tim Kagan, Eugene Maloney, Nagel Farm Service, Inc., National Property Inspections, Paris Foods Corporation, Provident State Bank, Shore United Back and Teddy Bear Fresh Produce LLC.

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