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‘To Serve and Protect Park of Honor’ returns to Westfield

Kellie Brown, President of the Westfield Kiwanis Club and Director of Operations of the Westfield Boys and Girls Club, holds one of the many U.S. flags that will be on display during the November ceremony (Photo by Peter Currier)

WESTFIELD- The Westfield Kiwanis Club will be organizing the third annual ‘To Serve and Protect Park of Honor’ on the front lawn of Westfield Middle School beginning November 3 and continuing until November 24.

The display will feature 3-foot by 5-foot American flags meant to honor military veterans, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical professionals. Each flag will have attached to it a ribbon with the names of those being honored and their sponsor.

Individuals may purchase a single flag for $30 or four flags for $100. The proceeds will benefit the children and grandchildren of veterans and volunteers in the form of scholarships. In 2016 The Kiwanis Club reported 100 flags were sold, and in 2017 the number sold was 150.

The event will begin on November 3 with an opening ceremony by the American Legion, followed by the singing of the national anthem, and a dedication to all those who served and continue to serve. Similar events to Westfield’s Park of Honor take place across the country.

The Kiwanis Club has done similar events in Massachusetts before. “The Pittsfield Kiwanis Club does it up in the Berkshires,” says Kellie Brown, President of the Westfield Kiwanis Club and Director of Operations for the Westfield Boys and Girls Club, “They put 600 flags in Park Square in Pittsfield.”

For Brown, this ceremony has personal meaning. Her father is a veteran of the United States Navy, and her brother is the Superintendent of the Berkshire County House of Corrections. “I honor them with a flag every year,” she says.

No scholarships were awarded from funds from the 2016 Park of Honor event. Instead the money was saved to be combined with funds raised in 2017. Just under $3000 was given to children and grand children of veterans. The money was designated as scholarships for summer camp. Each child received $200.

So far in 2018 there are 42 flags to be placed on the Westfield Middle School front lawn.

“Our goal is to match the 2017 total of 150 flags,” says Brown.

People who sponsored a flag in previous years will have the option to donate their flag back to be used again this year.

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