Shrewsbury woman honors fallen vets with memorial flags
By Joan Goodchild, Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury resident Amanda Sullivan knows how to get things done. Last year, the just 24-year-old Early Childhood Children's Director at Liberty Church launched a campaign that asked people to send Christmas cards to U.S. troops in service. The initial goal was 10,000 cards mailed – she ended up with over 87,000 sent.
With that success under her belt, Sullivan decided to spearhead an effort to honor not just those troops serving their country now, but those who have lost their lives in service to their country. That's where Flags for Our Fallen comes in.
“When I spoke to people about it, many were just happy to have an opportunity to honor some of the fallen heroes in their life,” Sullivan said.
With the help of Liberty Church officials, Sullivan sold flags leading up to Memorial Day for $2 each. Each purchased flag had the name of a fallen soldier inscribed on a ribbon. Buyers could choose to dedicate their flag to a fallen hero of their choosing, or Sullivan was able to assign a name to those who did not have a specific soldier in mind.
The campaign sold 1,500 flags and raised $3,000. All proceeds went to the New England Dream Center (NEDC) in Worcester. NEDC programs include veteran initiatives that assist troops with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome support and workforce training.
“The programs really help these vets that come back and need support, and also their families,” said Sullivan, who is also a volunteer at NEDC. “Veterans” kids are often overlooked. They don's understand why their parent comes back from service different from when they left, and this kind of support can help them cope with that.”
Many of the flags, around 1,000, were displayed in front of Liberty Church on Route 20 in Shrewsbury. Another 500 were at the NEDC campus in Worcester. (The flags were on display until June 17.)
Sullivan said she hopes that those who passed by and saw the sea of flags were reminded of the sacrifice soldiers have made so U.S. citizens can enjoy their freedom.
“Many look at summer, and the Memorial Day weekend in particular, as a time to gather and have barbecues. But we forget there were so many lives lost so we could have those barbecues.”
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