Flags of Remembrance is hoping to see all 128 Plaques of Honour sponsored to benefit the Sylvan Lake Community Food Bank.
The annual event, which is set to go ahead with a small scale ceremony on Sept. 12, will honour past or present military members, first responders as well as existing frontline medical professionals in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Al Cameron, founding CEO of Veterans Voices of Canada, says approximately 30 of the 128 Plaques of Honour are already sponsored for this year’s event.
If all of the plaques are sponsored a $5,000 donation will be made to the food bank.
Cameron explained any number less than the complete 128 makes it not feasible for them to make the donation.
“We do have to keep some money for our own organization to run our organization, but we try to help out where we can,” he said.
“I think we should be able to have a plaque on each one of those flag poles with the name of a person.”
Janet Griffith, with the Sylvan Lake Community Food Bank, says they are excited about the potential donation.
“That’s the only way we survive is through donations and the generosity of our community at large, that’s through businesses, through schools, through churches, through individuals, that’s where we get all of our cash and our donations,” Griffith said.
She says numbers are on par with this time last year, but they are waiting for the hammer to drop, whether it be in result of kids being back in school, the CERB ending or income tax season.
Cameron says community organizations and non-profits should help each other with their individual initiatives so they can all succeed together.
“The important thing is we need to make this successful and get those Plaques of Honour up there for a couple of reasons: so people can walk that flag line and read those names and remember them that way and then we do those full 128 so we can make a real nice donation to the Sylvan Lake food bank,” said Cameron.
The Flags of Remembrance event, he says, is the community supporting Veterans Voices of Canada to do what they do and then Veterans Voices of Canada supporting the food bank to do what they do.
“Everybody’s helping to make this really cool thing happen.”
Businesses, individuals, family members or community organizations are able to sponsor a plaque in the name of whoever they want to. If anyone doesn’t have a particular name in mind, but is still interested in playing tribute Cameron says they have “hundreds, if not thousands” of names of people who can be given honour to.
The individual or family receives the plague and the flag afterwards.
Earlier this year Cameron announced a cancellation of the official Flags of Remembrance ceremony to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, although with restrictions lifting a condensed ceremony is back on track.
Representatives of each sponsored plaque will be in attendance to help unfurl or put the flags up at noon on Sept. 12.
He says it would be OK if people wanted to park in the lot near Centennial Park and watch from inside their cars, but it will not be the huge 400-800 person event.
Those looking to sponsor a Plaque of Honour on behalf of a military, first responder or frontline medical hero can contact Al Cameron at email@example.com.