Volunteer group observes patriotic holiday
By PAMELA CODY
Special to the PRESS
In the early morning, on any given patriotic holiday, a group of individuals convene behind a small strip mall on East Maxan Street in Port Isabel where a modest storage facility houses hundreds of American Flags, neatly, carefully and properly stored and hung on metal poles. This group of volunteers are Rotarians representing the membership of the Rotary Club of Port Isabel, and they repeat this ritual year in and year out, on every patriotic holiday, whether that day is Independence Day, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Patriot’s Day (9-11) or Flag Day, and the citizens and visitors to the area have come to expect the display of Red, White and Blue to ornament the roadways, storefronts, medians and even a number of residences from Laguna Vista through South Padre Island.
Again, the Rotarians, are not personally compensated for their effort, but the “flag program,” as it’s come to be known, is fund-raising activity for the club, which raises around $14,000, making it the chapter’s most profitable fundraiser, according to current club president Jaqui Dempsey. She went on to add that proceeds earned through the effort go towards the club’s numerous community projects, such as it’s well known scholarship fund, and book and dictionary program, in which local school children receive a book and later a dictionary early in their careers as PI-ISD students.
Dempsey said the program was initiated in 2006 by then club member Shelly Hulse and club president Rick Ridolfi. The program’s first year encompassed between 80-100 flags. Today, closer to 400 flags are displayed throughout the greater Laguna Madre area. The program works by residents or business owners or managers contacting a local Rotarian and asking to be billed to have any amount of flags displayed in front of their home, businesses, building or office on every patriotic holiday. Prices range from $25 to $75 per flag, depending on the number of flags ordered per customer. Residential flag displays start at $50.
Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.