SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield’s inaugural Field of Honor is less than two months away and close to sold out. As of press time, 30 flags are still available for purchase. Additionally, sponsorships $500 and below can still be obtained.

Scheduled to take place Armed Forces Week 2017, the South Plainfield Field of Honor is being organized by resident Hannah Rhoads, 16, with support from the Boyle Memorial Foundation. Part of a national movement run by the non-profit Colonial Flag Foundation (CFF), the event will celebrate the United States and pay tribute to all servicemen and women, veterans and first responders.

The Field of Honor will feature 150 three by five foot United States flags flying on eight-foot poles in and around Monument Park beginning Sunday, May 14 and concluding with a small ceremony on Saturday, May 20 – Armed Forces Day.

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In July 2016, Bedminster, NJ hosted the state’s first Field of Honor event with over 200 American flags dedicated and erected at the town’s River Road Park. Among the adopted flags was one in memory of Hannah’s late brother, Ryan T. Rhoads, an active duty Army specialist who passed away on May 21, 2015.

“My cousin called to say she had dedicated a flag in honor of Ryan. We had never heard of this program before and I went with my family to see the display,” said Hannah. “It gave me goose bumps as we drove up to it. It was awesome to see all these flags flying together.” 

Wanting to personally host a Field of Honor in her hometown, Hannah reached out to South Plainfield Mayor Matt Anesh and, during an August 2016 meeting, presented her idea for hosting one in South Plainfield during Armed Forces Week 2017. The mayor offered Hannah suggestions and promised his support.

In addition to serving as a patriotic tribute to the men and women who have or currently defend our country, the Field of Honor will also benefit the South Plainfield Department of Social Services. Proceeds from sponsorships – four different options are available to businesses, organizations and individuals – will go to the South Plainfield Food Pantry.

“We chose the food pantry because summer is a time they run out of food; in the fall, they get an abundance of donations but then it peters out again in the late spring. Our donation will come in time for summer,” said Hannah, noting that she will most likely exceed her personal goal of raising $2,500 for the food pantry.

Residents of South Plainfield and the surrounding communities can purchase a flag in honor of veterans, active military personnel, fallen soldiers, and first responders. Flags, created by CFF, are $40 a piece. Each flag will include a laminated dedication tag with up to a three-line sentiment. At the end of the week, the flags will go to the purchaser. Forms for individuals looking to dedicate a flag at the South Plainfield event will be available in January.

Additionally, Field of Honor sponsorships currently still available include: Liberty Sponsor ($500) – includes 3 flag kits and recognition in event program and on website as well as in South Plainfield Observer and TAPinto South Plainfield; and Citizen Sponsor ($250) –includes 1 flag kit and recognition in event program and on website as well as in South Plainfield Observer and TAPinto South Plainfield. Additionally, Friend Sponsorship – any donation amount below $250 – are also welcome.

For more information about the May 2017 South Plainfield Field of Honor or to purchase a flag, make a donation, or become a sponsor, contact Barbara Rhoads at 908-295-8748. Checks can be sent to Barbara Rhoads, 1820 Eganey Street, South Plainfield, NJ, and credit card payments are also accepted. Please note, however, that checks and money orders must be made payable to the ‘Boyle Memorial Foundation’ with ‘Field of Honor’ noted in memo line. Contributions are tax deductible.

For additional information the Colonial Flag Foundation and its Healing Field and Field of Honor programs, visit http://www.healingfield.org.

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