It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of thanks to acknowledge the effort, and support of so many that resulted in the successful completion of the Big Flag Project. The raising of the first flag on Memorial Day at the Jolley Bridge to hundreds of Islanders, and guests in celebration of this moments day honoring those who gave their lives so we live as we do speaks volumes for Marco Island.
The Big Flag will fly 24/7, 365 days a year as a welcome to all arriving on Marco Island and a reminder for those leaving the Island as to the importance that Marco Island puts on honoring America.
This project captured the ideals of our city and our citizens. I was honored to be selected as chairman and privileged to work with such a dedicated committee of community leaders. Each committee member made significant contributions which enabled this project to be the success it has proven to be. Their individual strengths and interests in accomplishing specific details made this dream come true. I wish to express my thanks, and the thanks from everyone to our committee: Vice Chairman, Dick Shanahan, Leo Sutera, Keith Dameron and Litha Berger.
Particular thanks go to Carole Roberts, originator of the idea of installing a community flag, Mike and Jill Havey and family, donor’s of the flag pole, the many donor’s both individual and organizations for their financial support.
As a true community effort, the committee acknowledges the support of City Council members Chairman, Larry Mage, Vice Chairman, Joe Bate, and Councilmen Jerry Gibson, Wayne Waldack, Frank Recker, William Trotter and Chuck Kiester, city staff support by City Manager, James Riviera was invaluable by providing members of his staff, liaison to the committee, Tim Pinter and Brandi Garwood, Patricia Bliss, and Bob Creighton.
The ceremony held at the base of the Jolley Bridge was a challenging area of concern regarding safety, traffic flow, parking and spectator comfort. The challenges were met with success by Police Chief, Don Hunter and Fire Chief, Mike Murphy and their dedicated and professional staffs.
Guest Speakers, Florida Senator, Garrett Richter, Collier County Commissioner, Donna Fiala, Military Veteran and City Council, Vice Chairman, Joe Batte and Florida Representative Kathleen Passidomo spoke to the importance of the Big Flag following the singing of the National Anthem by entertainer Christina Giordano and the leading of the Pledge of Allegiance by Mike Havey.
The ceremony was held in a timely fashion and snag free with the help of many unsung hero’s for the project, namely, Singer, Christina Giordano, Eli Contracting for installation of the flag pole, Condee Cooling and Electric, for the electrical installation and light fixtures under the supervision of Greg Schneider, Sound System by Steve Reynolds, Photographer, Nancy Dowdell and Videographer Mike Hughes, the M.I. Police foundation, Boy Scouts of America the Marco Island Yacht Club, the media including Don Manley, Sun Times; Bill Green, M.I. Eagle, Valerie Simon, Coastal Breeze; Bernadette LaPaglia, Florida Weekly; Naples Daily News, WINK TV, and columnists, Don Farmer and Chris Curle.
The Big Flag Project now enters Phase 4. Phase 4 is an on going fund raising effort to provide funds to be used to cover costs for the future. The project is fully funded by donations at no cost to the city in the future. The fund will pay for utility use costs, maintenance of the pole, halyards and hardware, bulb replacement, and replacement flags as needed due to wear and tear.
Donations are being accepted presently by Big Flag Committee fundraising Chairman, Leo Sutera at (820) 781–3142, or, via Email @ LSBSmarco@aol.com .
Big Flag Chairman