Kiwanis Club of Adrian’s “Avenue of Flags” project continues to grow

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ADRIAN – Earlier this year, Adrian was named “Michigan’s Most Patriotic City”.

If you ask members of Adrian’s Kiwanis Club if they agree with the study – in which car insurance comparison website Insurify looked at the number of veterans applying for car insurance in each city – Kiwanians will agree unreservedly that the 100% accurate.

“We have a beautiful city, especially during the holiday season,” said Sara Herriman, president of the Kiwanis Club.

After:Study names Adrian Michigan’s “most patriotic town”

Some of that patriotism in and around Adrian, and some of the beauty of the city, stems from the efforts of Kiwanis’ Avenue of Flags vacation project.

This year “Avenue of Flags” is celebrating its 10th anniversary as an annual fundraiser for the Kiwanis Club. Year after year, the project continues to grow as more and more community members get involved and request that an American flag be placed on the lawn of their home or business.

American flags distributed by the Kiwanis Club of Adrian as part of the

Lynne Punnett, vice-president of the Kiwanis Club of Adrian and president of the “Avenue of Flags” project, said there are currently 1,450 American flags located around Adrian and even sprawling a bit in neighboring townships.

About 125 volunteers – Kiwanians and other community members willing to lend a hand – help take out the flags and return later to help remove and put away the flags.

The flag project, which dates back to 2012, has grown into one of Club Kiwanis’ most regular and profitable fundraisers. All funds provided by “Avenue des Flags” return directly to the community in the form of grants and community projects.

American flags distributed by the Kiwanis Club of Adrian as part of the "Avenue of Flags" project float in the breeze along West Maple Avenue outside the office of Gurdjian Insurance Group Inc. during the Memorial Day holiday.

“There is no doubt that the (flag project) has become one of our main projects,” Herriman said. “It’s an important fundraiser for us every year. It allows us to do a lot for the community.

Flags are placed on front lawns during six patriotic holidays of the year: Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, 9/11 and Veterans Day. The flags currently standing around Adrian have been raised since Memorial Day. The process of removing the flags and storing them for their return as Labor Day approaches will begin later this week.

A flag for the entire year costs $ 45. For three or more flags placed in front of a house or business, there is a slight price reduction: $ 35 per flag. Those interested in joining the Kiwanis Club and placing a flag in front of their home or business can call 517-270-4350 or email [email protected]

Punnett has been a Kiwanian in Adrian for nine years. She and Julie Field once co-chaired “Avenue of Flags,” but now Punnett is president of operations. She cannot thank the community enough for their desire to steal the star-spangled banner with the Kiwanis Club.

“It’s truly heartwarming to hear how meaningful the flag is to our many subscribers,” she said. “Personally, I love what the flag symbolizes – our freedoms in this country. I couldn’t be more proud of what this project represents. It means a lot to me. “

Jalivianna Mack-Henagan, left, and Danielle Vallejo, both members of City of Refugee Ministries, smile as they volunteer earlier this year to place American flags around Adrian as part of the Kiwanis Club of Adrian's

Punnett and Field took over the organization of the project from its founding members, David Siler and Larry Stephan. The project, according to the Kiwanis website, was patriotic in nature and would help beautify the city while becoming a solid fundraiser for the club.

Siler and Stephan started the flag project by walking down Scott Street and McKenzie Street, knocking on doors and trying to sell flag subscriptions to residents. From there, the duo ventured onto College and Michigan avenues.

At one point, subscribers to the flag reached nearly 130 people across Adrian. When subscriptions passed 900, that’s when the project passed on to Field and Punnett. Stephanie Dinius Lundy also contributed to the committee and project management during the transfer process.

David Siler, pictured, with Larry Stephan, co-founded the

The number of flags eventually started to exceed the number that could be installed by club members.

In 2017, a partnership was formed with the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office Hard Work Team to have these people place flags along the city’s trade routes. In 2018, Kiwanis partnered with Boy Scout Troop # 632 and paid a stipend to maintain 200 flags in the northeast Adrian area. City of Refugee Ministries helps place the flag on Adrian’s historic east side, and Adrian American Veterans (AMVETS) Post No. 1957 also has an itinerary with Kiwanis.

Siler’s original annual projection of project scope has been completed every year. By the end of this year, club members aim to reach 1,660 flag subscribers. In 2019, there were 1,420 annual subscribers.

Flags Avenue revenues have grown from $ 3,720 in 2012 to over $ 35,000 over the past two years.

Hundreds of American flags placed around Adrian by the Kiwanis Club of Adrian are pictured in their warehouse in the Kiwanis Riverview Terrace building on College Avenue in Adrian.  According to Lynne Punnett, president of the club "Avenue of Flags" holiday project, some Kiwanis Captains store flags in their homes for convenience and the approximate other half is stored at Magic Fountain Storage on US 223 in Adrian.

Siler died on August 1, 2020, following a long illness. He was a member of Adrian’s Kiwanis Club for 40 years. The flag on the Kiwanis Trail at Bent Oak Crossing was dedicated in his honor.

“(David) would be pretty proud to see the project today and where it’s at,” Punnett said. “He would have no regrets. “

Punnett and Herriman both said they expect the project and its influence to continue for many years to come.

“We hope the project continues strong in the years to come,” Punnett said. “I don’t see why it wouldn’t continue at such a sustained pace. More and more flags fly around the community on each holiday. Kiwanis is very grateful to the community for their support.

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