MARCO ISLAND — It’s amazing what a difference a fortnight can make in the life of what began as an idea and has rocketed to a real life happening. We refer to the Big Flag Campaign, the project to erect a large American flag at or near the Marco side of the now twin spans of the Jolley Bridge.
The nascent flag effort gathered steam after word got around town that it was a serious proposal – to get the flag up and flying through fundraising of private donations, with no use of taxpayers’ dollars.
In a blur of activity, the initial proponents brought community activist Dave Rice on board as chairman. Then came some early pledges of donations by private citizens, even before the Big Flag Campaign had procedures in place to collect funds.
Support burgeoned. City Council and staff viewed the flag project positively. Civic groups applauded the effort.
The latest is the Marco Island Civic Association, MICA. President Bernardo Bezos tells us the MICA Board of Directors voted to provide ongoing maintenance of the flag once it is up and flying.
“This is our way of acknowledging that Marco is a patriotic island,” Bezos says. “We’re glad to be part of the project.”
Also, the Marco Knights of Columbus members voted to take part in the Big Flag Campaign.
“Specifically we’ll be glad to be part of the flag replacement program, so the city does not incur any expenses in the future for such maintenance,” says Joe Granda, a member of the Big Flag Campaign steering committee.
At one point word came to the flag committee that a person or entity that wanted to remain anonymous would provide, at no cost, a flag pole, a flag, delivered and installed.
If true, that is a game-changer. So far the Big Flag Campaign is thinking of, in Chairman Rice’s words, “a 50-foot pole from ground level to the top, with a durable commercial flag of 12 by 18 feet. This provides an immediate view of the flag at the crest of the bridge when entering the island.”
As of this writing, the city and the flag committee were to meet at a possible site of the flag between the right-of-way medians on Collier Boulevard, south of the bridge.
Tim Minter, the city’s point man on the flag project, told the flag committee, “Once a location for the pole is selected, the committee shall apply for a right-of-way permit from the city’s Department of Public Works.”
From there on, many details need to be ironed out, but the flag committee wants it up and flying ASAP. Many hope to have it completed by the time the new bridge span is dedicated on Nov. 19.
Thus it also would be in place for when the traveling Vietnam Wall will be at Veterans Community Park in early December.
That’s a warp – a wrap award, that is, for Marco’s Iberia Bank
It’s all about recycling and solid waste reduction and in that effort, Iberia Bank and its VP/Manager Keith Dameron will be honored at the Collier County Commissioners meeting on Oct. 25.
WRAP is an appropriate acronym for Waste Reduction Award Program, which the bank’s now famous Saturday morning Shred Parties does by the ton.
Dameron’s approach was to combine bringing in a big truck from the Shred-It Company, and then invite people to pack up their shred-worthy documents, etc. and drive into the bank parking lot and watch the paperwork be gobbled up.
Keith also made it a party with live music, food and drink and other attractions.
Now, after five successful shred parties and more to come, the bank is getting a proclamation and a trophy, the WRAP award. Congratulations to Keith and his staff and to the Shred-It company for giving islanders a place to shred it, not dread it.
Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail email@example.com.
Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.