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Salvation Army Fundraiser Supports “Milford Strong”

Each year, Memorial Day observances offer an opportunity to pay tribute to those who have given their lives for their country through military service as well as for remembrances of family and friends who are no longer with us. This year, our thoughts are also with the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy.

One positive that resulted from that senseless act of violence is the outpouring of patriotism, reflected through the simple phrase - Boston Strong.

This year, through an existing program initiated by the Salvation Army's David and Jessie Irwin, the community of Milford has a unique opportunity to show their support for that organization's community works, while also sending a "Milford Stong" message of support to the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Beginning with Memorial Day and continuing through Flag Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day and Veterans Day, Milfordordians, as well as residents of Mendon and Hopedale, are invited to participate in the Milford-area Salvation Army's Flag Fundraiser.

Irwin explained that the program, which began last year, was inspired by a similar program in Ohio, where he and his wife were stationed prior to moving to Milford in 2012. "My wife and I really feel that it's a great way for a community to show their patriotism," Irwin said. "As Americans, I think that we all have that unified spirit as one nation."

The Flag Fundraising program provides additional financial support for the Salvation Army's community social-service programs. "Sometimes people don't realize all that we do in the community," Irwin mused. "We've done housing this year for people, we've helped people with their electric and gas and oil bills, we send kids to camp in the summer and a lot of other things that we do. I think that this [fundraiser] will eventually help us do more in the community."

For each of the five patriotic holidays, those participating in the program will receive the 3-foot by 5-foot flags, mounted on ten-foot flagstaffs. "Eighteen inches of the staff is put in the ground, so it's 8 1/2 feet above the ground," Irwin noted. "We get your flag post put in and anywhere from one to three days before the holiday, or holiday weekend, we put the flags up," Afterwards, the flags are removed and set aside for the next holiday. "The reason we do that is that we don't want the flags to be up all year," Irwin explained. "We find that if they're left up all year, they become unnoticed."

Individual flags are available for a $35 dollar donation, which covers all of the above-named holidays. Homeowners and corporations, who wish to fly more than one flag can take advantage of discounted packages: four flags for $100 or eight flags for $200. "We've found that the [multiple] flags look really sharp out in front of places," Irwin determined, citing the Buma Funeral Home on Congress St. as an example.

Though Memorial Day is close at hand, Irwin pointed out that, for those who fail to sign up in time for the May holiday, there still remains an opportunity to do so in time for Flag Day, June 14.

That the Flag Fundraiser can also serve as a way to honor the Boston Marathon victims is all the more appropriate, since the Salvation Army was among the first responders to the tragedy. "We [the Salvation Army] have a very large emergency disaster team within the state of Massachusetts, situated in the greater Boston area," Irwin revealed. "Within minutes [of the bombing] they were responding." Upwards of 13,000 meals were served by the Salvation Army to firemen, policemen, volunteers and runners, following the Marathon disaster. "We also had some runners from the Salvation Army who were actually in the marathon at the time, so it really hit close to home," said Irwin. "I'm just so proud, not just of the Salvation Army, but [also] those who responded and quickly took charge."

Those interested in participating in the Flag Fundraiser should contact Irwin directly at david.irwin@use.salvationarmy.org. or by phoning either 330-206-8102 or 508-473-0786.




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