The Edmonds Lions Club is looking for volunteers willing to help with the club’s efforts to place flags in front of local businesses on holidays.
Since 1990, Edmonds Lions Club members have been placing the flags in front of local businesses as a club fundraiser. Businesses pay a $40 annual fee per flag yearly, or $120 per four flags yearly. Proceeds are used to fund a variety of Lions service projects, including eye examinations, glasses and hearing aids for adults and children in need, as well as college scholarships.
Some past program participants have moved out of the area to be closer to family, and club member Judy Forgey said the Lions could use volunteers willing to help. A volunteer with a truck “would be a bonus,” she added.
According to Forgey, prior to the 1960s, the American Legion did a smaller version of the flag program, mainly on 5th and Main in downtown Edmonds. That effort eventually ended, but in January 1990 the Lions Club launched a new flag program.
“The Lions Club had no flags, so they ordered 30 flags from the federal government,” Forgey explained. “Wouldn’t you know it, the flags didn’t arrive on time, and the club ended up borrowing flags from Washelli Cemetery in Seattle.
The first year, members put the flags out on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the first holiday of 10 to be recognized through the program. At that time, the flags were free. In 1989, the Lions Club started selling the flag placement as a fundraiser.
As more businesses asked to become part of the flag program, Lions Club members realized that with all the additional flags being sold they needed a place to store them. In addition, they needed to buy equipment to drill additional holes, and paint to mark the areas for the new flag customers.
The flags were stored at several different locations in Edmonds until then-Mayor Larry Naughton approved a club request to place a storage shed on city public works property downtown — giving the 331 flags a permanent home.
Those interested in volunteering for the Lion’s Club holiday flag program are asked to contact Tom Snyder at 425-293-2472.