The Meridian Trust North Star Foundation and Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union hosted their 3rd annual Flags for Heroes Dedication Ceremony last Wednesday, September 21 at their North Branch location.
People were encouraged to recognize anyone who they consider to be a hero. The information was written onto a tag that was attached to the flag so anyone can walk through the flags and read about those who were honored.
Last September, nearly 300 heroes were recognized, including the military, first responders, healthcare workers, and community members who go above and beyond. Over $20,000 was raised year to support our local communities, with $10,000 being donated to the Wyoming Hunger Initiative.
According to Meridian Trust Executive Vice President, CCE, Bryan Thomas, this year’s event raised over $25,000 and recognized 475 heroes. Thomas said this year the donations went to Wyoming Hunger Initiative, Wellington Foodbank, Alliance, and Scottsbluff School District Meal Fund, The Wyoming Subvets Lone Sailor Memorial.
Thomas said much of the inspiration behind starting the event came during the pandemic from wanting to create a safe space to recognize important people within communities. Thomas added that much of the success and continuation of the project is largely due to the tremendous reception from the communities involved.
“This all originated from COVID and wanting to put on an inspirational display in a safe setting and it just grew from two locations to three, to now six,” Thomas said. “It was so well received by our communities. It wasn’t just the beauty of all the flags waving but the stories behind them…as we say, ‘Every Flag has a Story!’”
While Meridian has many locations, Thomas said their Wellington branch has quickly become one of their most cherished by the warm reception they’ve received from the beginning of Meridian’s time there. Thomas added that this year they were able to provide a considerable donation to the Wellington Foodbank through the American Legion.
“Wellington has been so inviting and welcoming to the community. Nic Redavid, our branch manager, has become very engaged with the community and that has spurred a lot of sponsorships from many of the local businesses and interest in sponsoring Flags for some of the heroes in Wellington,” Thomas said. “We were able to honor Roy Cook, a 7-year retired Navy veteran who is with the American Legion Wellington Post 176. We donated $2000 to the Wellington Foodbank to support food insecurity on behalf of the American Legion.”
For the past two years the event has been held in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Wellington, Colorado, however, Thomas said this year the event was expanded to their two new locations branches in Alliance and Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
“Meridian Trust is delighted to announce the addition of Alliance and Scottsbluff out of Nebraska for our Flags for Heroes campaign. Adding these two new communities now gives us representation in Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska,” Thomas said. “With adding Nebraska today, the Northstar Foundation is donating $2000 to both Alliance and Scottsbluff, to assist the schools and students in need with their lunch debt. We are delighted to add these two communities to our growing list of fighting food insecurity throughout the U.S. Flags were displayed at all three locations in Cheyenne, Wellington, Scottsbluff, and Alliance. We currently have only one dedication ceremony but plan to expand that to our other communities in the coming years.”