Flags For Our Heroes
9th Annual Flags For Our Heroes Event - November 3, 2018
This year, we will continue with our "Meet at the Cemetery" event, where any families who wish to participate can meet us at the cemetery to place flags on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 9 a.m. The cemetery address is: 10410 Veterans Memorial Dr. Houston, TX 77038. All participants will meet between the main part of section S1 and the pond for a group picture before we place flags.
Students, staff and families who wish to participate can get real time updates from the Williams Elementary homepage, The Flags For Our Heroes page at bit.ly/flagsforourheroes or our twitter feeds: @MrsGustinsClass and @kgustin
Elementary students participating in the Meet at the Cemetery events should remain with their family members for the duration of the event.
We will have another organized flag retrieval event this year. Students, staff and their families can meet us at the cemetery to retrieve our flags on Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 9 a.m. and return them to Williams Elementary to be repaired, bundled and stored for next year's event.
This year's Flags For Our Heroes event will be coordinated from Willie E. Williams Elementary School with Kerrie Gustin as the primary contact.
The 9th Annual Flags For Our Heroes event is an excellent community service opportunity for all MISD students, staff members, and their families. It has been a profoundly moving experience for all who have participated through the years. I hope that we will have many families who choose to participate from all of our MISD campuses. Help us to continue to honor our local military families by participating in this year's Flags For Our Heroes event.
Questions regarding the 9th annual Flags For Our Heroes event may be directed to Kerrie Gustin at Williams Elementary School or Magnolia Elementary School. Thank you for your continued support!
Click on the button above to access the informational flyer for the 9th Annual Magnolia ISD Flags For Our Heroes events on November 3, 2018 and November 17, 2018.
9th Annual Flags For Our Heroes Timeline
November 3, 2018 (Saturday before Veteran's Day) - Volunteers meet at 9 a.m. at the T.C. Jester entrance at section S1 and place flags to honor the memory of U.S. military and their families laid to rest at the Houston National Cemetery during our 8th Annual Flags For Our Heroes Event.
November 17, 2018 - (Saturday following Veteran's Day) Volunteers meet at 9 a.m. at the T.C. Jester entrance at sections S1, R, and R1 for flag retrieval at Houston National Cemetery.
November/December 2018 - Secondary students wishing to earn community service hours repair, bundle and store flags for next year's event. (Contact Mrs. Gustin or Mrs. McConnell at Willie E. Williams Elementary for more information)
Participating Campuses for the 2018 Event
Ellisor Elementary School - Connie Felinski, Principal
Lyon Elementary School - Erin Vance, Principal
Magnolia Elementary School - Letty Roman, Principal
Willie E. Williams Elementary School - Kelly Jones, Principal
Magnolia High School - Dr. Mike Metz, Principal
Magnolia West High School - Dr. Ben King, Principal
MHS and MWHS NJROTC students - CDR Bedell
Note to MISD Staff and Students:
Your campus does not have to be a participating campus in order for you to participate in the event. All MISD staff, students and their families are invited to participate in Flags For Our Heroes.
The Story of Flags For Our Heroes
My grandfather, Charles Townsend, was a Master Sgt. in the Army during WWII. In the spring of 2007, exactly one month apart, he and my Grandma Floy were laid to rest in the Houston National Cemetery.
The following Memorial Day, we began a family tradition of honoring the memory of my grandparents with American flags. As we left the cemetery after that first visit with our children, my daughter Grace turned to me and said, "Mommy, it's so sad that so many of these soldiers have no one to honor their memories."
I thought about it for a moment and replied, "You know what? I think we can do something about that."
Over the next year, every time we went to the store, Grace reminded me to toss a package of American flags into our shopping cart. The following Memorial Day we were able to honor the memories of 150 soldiers and their families. Of course, when we discovered that was only a little more than four rows in my grandparents' section, we were determined to do more.
At the beginning of the next school year I spoke to Brenda Marfin, who had recently become Director of Social Studies for MISD, about inviting the schools to participate and Flags For Our Heroes was born.
Williams and Magnolia Elementary Schools elected to participate during our 1st campaign. Mrs. Marfin and Rozanna Roach from the curriculum office worked with us to coordinate the event. Over several months we collected change to purchase flags, and students participated in an essay and art contest in order to have an opportunity to join us on Memorial Day to place flags at the cemetery. On Memorial Day 2011, a dozen MISD students boarded a school bus during their summer vacation, to honor the memories of 1,150 veterans and their families.
During our 2nd campaign, we had seven participating campuses. On Memorial Day 2012, we took over 70 students, along with several teachers and administrators on two school buses, and led a tremendously long caravan of family members to the Houston National Cemetery; where we were able to honor the memories of 2,000 of our nation's heroes.
Our 3rd campaign was supported by eight participating campuses as well as some members of our local Magnolia community. Sixty students who had submitted essays or projects were invited to participate in the event. The day of the event, we discovered that another organization had organized an amazing city-wide effort to honor all 70,000 veterans interred at the Houston National Cemetery with American flags. We went forward with our event, honoring 4,000 soldiers in section S1 with a second American flag. Many family members visiting the memorials of loved ones who were laid to rest at the cemetery expressed gratitude to our MISD students who had chosen to spend part of their Memorial Day honoring the memories of soldiers who had bravely served our nation. After learning that plans were in place to make Flags for Fallen Vets on Memorial Day an annual event, our committee elected to move our event to Veterans Day beginning with the 2013-2014 school year. We encourage anyone who is interested in participating in future Memorial Day events to visit the Flags for Fallen Vets website and register to volunteer for next year's event.
The 4th annual Flags For Our Heroes event took place the Saturday before Veterans Day. We invited students in 1st through 8th grades to submit essays and video projects for the opportunity to participate in the event. We were joined by members of our district's NJROTC from both MHS and MWHS, as well as the Literacy Block Methods Students from Sam Houston State University hosted at Williams Elementary. We were able to honor approximately 4,000 of our nations heroes with American flags.
During the 5th annual Flags For Our Heroes campaign, the invitation to participate in the event was extended to all MISD campuses. Students in 1st through 12th grades were invited to submit a project or essay for the opportunity to join us for our second Veteran's Day weekend event. The event took place on two days with selected students, their families, MISD staff, and the SHSU Literacy Block students placing 4,000 flags on Saturday, November 8, 2014. On Veterans Day, Magnolia ISD NJROTC students placed an additional 2,000 flags in sections R and R1 allowing us to honor the memories of 6,000 of our heroes. We were able to retrieve all of our flags from the cemetery that Thursday afternoon with the hope of continuing to increase the number of flags we place each year.
Our 6th annual Flags For Our Heroes campaign brought many changes to the event. Instead of having students submit projects in order to participate, we invited all staff, students and their families to a Meet at the Cemetery event, where we placed over 3,000 flags. The day of the event brought torrential downpours throughout the Houston area. Radar revealed a consistent dry line over the cemetery, so we broadcast through social media that we would move forward with the event. We were amazed at the number of people who braved the weather to join us to honor the memories of our brave soldiers and their families. As always, our NJROTC students placed an additional 3,000 flags during their annual trip to the Houston Veterans Day parade on the second day of our event. We also added an organized flag retrieval event to our yearly campaign which was a great success.
Due to the success of the previous year's campaign, the 7th annual Flags For Our Heroes was once again a meet at the cemetery event. We had nearly 80 Magnolia ISD students, staff and their families meet at the cemetery to place 3,600 flags the Saturday before Veterans Day. On Veterans Day, our NJROTC students once again placed an additional 3,000 flags during their annual trip to march in the Houston Veterans Day parade. On November 17, 2016 we hosted our second organized flag retrieval, where we were honored to be assisted by volunteer cadets from a military academy who were performing community service at the cemetery.
Shortly before the beginning of our 8th event, the Houston Area experienced wide-spread devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. We suspended collections for the purchase of flags for the event, encouraging donors to divert their resources to assist in relief efforts. We placed a total of 7,000 flags during our our 8th annual event on November 4, 2017.
It is my hope, that with your continued support, we will not only be able to increase the number of soldiers we are able to honor each year, but that Flags For Our Heroes will become an enduring Magnolia ISD tradition, offering generations of students the opportunity to express their patriotism by honoring the memories of those who have served our country and preserved our freedom.
In Honor of All Who Defend Our Freedom,
Kerrie Gustin - Elementary Advanced Academics Teacher
Magnolia Elementary & Willie E. Williams Elementary
Co-founder - MISD Flags For Our Heroes