MARCO ISLAND — Saturday’s Patriotic Shred Party at Iberia Bank on Bald Eagle Drive provided a great example of multi-tasking.
Islanders could drop off their old, unwanted records for shredding, view for one last time the collected war memorabilia of their fellow citizens, and make a contribution to support and help pay for the construction of the Veterans Memorial taking shape in the park nearby. If the event also helped provide top-of-mind awareness for Iberia Bank, that’s just smart marketing.
“ Keith does such a great job with his events,” said David Longfield-Smith of Costco, a marketing rep himself, of Iberia Bank vp/branch manager Keith Dameron. “At many bank events, you have hotdogs and maybe face painting, and not a lot of people. He really brings people out, because he provides value.”
Dameron was everywhere Saturday morning, emceeing, greeting people as they drove in with their boxes and bags of paper to shred, accepting donations, handing out raffle tickets, and even tracking down people who parked blocking the bank’s drive-through lane.
“The proceeds from today will go 100 percent to the Veterans Memorial. I urge you to donate,” he announced over the PA system, before introducing seven-year-old Sahara Brown, who sang the National Anthem a capella.
The Shred-It truck, with its industrial-grade shredder, was kept busy mincing up carton after carton of old business records, bank statements and sensitive papers, despite the numerous times the bank has held shred parties in the past. Rick Michaud, district operations manager for Shred-It, which donated their time and equipment, said that by the end of the event, they would have over three tons of recycled paper shredded in their truck.
“In 90 days, it’ll be back, as paper towels, paper napkins, anything that uses post-consumer recycled material,” he said. “Every 150 pounds saves two trees.” With a carton of paper, 5,000 sheets, weighing about 20 pounds, that means the equivalent of between one and two million sheets of paper were shredded and recycled Saturday.
With Islanders and visitors charged two dollars per bag or box of “shred,” the event raised an appreciable amount of money for the Veterans Memorial. Inside the bank, the lobby had been turned into something of a veterans’ memorial itself. The items displayed came from conflicts all over the world, and spanning many years, with displays of captured Japanese officers’ swords and Wehrmacht military pistols from World War II, uniforms and medals, rifles and flags, and a directional marker taken from the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The Vietnam War sign caught Joan Robbins’ eye, she said as she looked over the displays.
“It says ‘this way’ in Vietnamese,” she pointed out. Four decades ago, an endless stream of porters carried munitions south through the jungle, in a bloody war against us, and now the country is counted as a friend, and a popular tourist destination, for the U.S.
A half dozen musicians from the Marco Island Strummers played patriotic tunes, including the service hymns, the “Col. Bogey March,” and “God Bless America,” with the singing led by Army vet Herb Savage.
Mike Stapleton, a Marine Corps vet, Bernadette Lapaglia, and Chief William Carl of Dignity Memorial funeral services were on hand, spreading the word about their programs for veterans. In addition to pledging that no vet will go without a decent burial, the company, which owns Hodges-Josberger Funeral Home on Marco, offers to help veterans who have lost service medals get them replaced.
Those wishing to contribute to completion of the Veterans’ Memorial may make contributions by stopping by the Iberia Bank branch, or calling (239) 389-5035.