On a recent sunny day in Wichita, KS, IAM District Lodge 70 and United Way held their third annual Flags of Freedom event, created to allow the community to give thanks to those who served and those who sacrificed everything in service to the nation.
IAM Locals 639, 839, 1989, 774, and 2799, the IAM Aerospace Department and other volunteers came out in weeks prior to place 600 American flags across District 70’s property at the corner of I-235 and South Meridian Avenue. For two weeks until Memorial Day, these flags are in place for anyone to visit.
Organizations and individuals sponsored dedications in honor of service members. A dedication includes the veteran’s name, branch of service, rank, and a short personal tribute. The proceeds are distributed to programs like Veterans Ride Free, which allows veterans to ride local transit buses free of charge.
To date, the United Way of the Plains and IAM District 70 have raised $75,000 to help local veterans.
IAM Veterans Services Coordinator Richard Evans attended the event and spoke about the meaning and significance of the American flag.
“Words like pride, joy, relief, patriotism, comfort, honor, justice, and of course freedom are some words that describe Old Glory,” said Evans. “Today, I would like to mention thankfulness.”
District 70 Secretary-Treasurer Teressa Peart has led the charge on this community service event since inception.
“Without Teressa, this does not happen,” said District 70 Directing Business Representative Cornell Beard. “This is a major ordeal. With Teressa being a veteran, I just get out of the way.”
“Teressa is the heart and soul of the Veterans Services Program,” said Evans. “She sets the bar high for each of us to follow and does it without hesitation.”