I always try to do a big thank you with my five minutes in the spotlight during the brief program we have during our Flag Day Celebration, and I always feel like the thank you is way too inadequate for the amount of work that goes on. So while writing a blog post may still feel inadequate, at least I will have more time to thank more people.
Where do I start? First we have an army of staff and youth who do the set up and teardown. Our maintenance crew, which is half of what it has been in past years (in manpower, not capacity) really outdid themselves in setup, teardown and everything in between! Additionally, partly because we use their space and partially because the games that are set up for the kids to play at Flag Day fall into the realm of our Recreation Department, they always pitch in big time before, during, and after Flag Day--a big thank you is in order for all of our Recreation Staff. We also couldn’t do Flag Day without our Purchasing Department – believe me they do much more than purchase the food and materials for the day. Thank you, Purchasing Department for all you do. Speaking of food, this year we had a couple last minute volunteer cancelations on the grill so most of the grilling was done by two individuals a staff member and a board member. You know who you are --- thank you for all your hard work.
The few days before Flag Day and certainly the day of Flag Day we seem to have an army of youth from our cottages working to make everything go smoothly. The students did exceptional work again this year. Of course, with students came an equal army of staff who pitched in and worked alongside the students rather than just supervising them. Whether it was setting up or tearing down, blowing up balloons and distributing them or the hundreds of tasks that go on behind the scenes, the students and staff deserve a big thank you as well. Beyond that group of staff there were others who came in on their days off to pitch in selling t-shirts, hoodies, manning the Sanctuary table, and our recruitment table or just coming in, rolling up their sleeves and being put to work wherever work was needed. Thank you to all of our staff who pitched in.
Beyond the staff there were the volunteers, the Glacier Brass Quintet from the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Boy Scout Troop 144 who did the color guard duties and the feature band, Spank the Dog, who has volunteered their time and talent for the past three years. Of course, alongside staff working their various segments of the day, keeping food table stocked and selling tickets were the volunteers who kept things running. I must also mention the group of volunteers who may not have completely been volunteers in the true sense of the word since they were a number of spouses, children, nephews and nieces, significant others and in laws and in one case an ex-employee who volunteered and volunteered her spouse as well. Thank you all for all you did for us to make this Alaska Flag Day a very special day. If you were here on Flag Day you also had to have noticed a Lions Club presence, so thank you to the Muhabey Lions Club!
Then there were the Celebrity Ice Cream Scoopers that deserve a big thank you. After all, what would Alaska Flag Day be without a big scoop of ice cream? Along with the group that seems to always be willing to help out, directors of sister organizations, community leaders including leaders from our supporting organizations and sponsors keep the ice cream lines to a minimum all evening. We were hononored to have Governor Walker and our First Lady, Donna Walker scooping ice cream again this year, so a big thank you goes out to them as they fit us into their very busy schedule. Speaking of, our First Lady Donna Walker had double duty in that she also served as our Honorary Chair! I must add – Mrs. Walker’s years of advocacy for children in our state made her the perfect Honorary Chair for us.
Cross Country Ski Olympian siblings Sadie & Erik Bjornsen scoop ice cream for guests!
Finally I must thank two people by name Angie Rush and Lauren Curran. Again this year Angie coordinated many of the behind the scene aspects of Alaska Flag Day - she makes it look easy but I know it is not. Lauren, who is new, was responsible for making sure the t-shirts and all Alaska Flag Day items were ready in time for the event, not to mention all of the publicity, social media, and scheduling of volunteers. Speaking of Flag Day t-shirts, thank you to all of the youth and staff who submitted t-shirt designs and in particular to Psychiatric Treatment Counselor, Levi Oyster who designed this year’s t-shirt design!
Governor Bill & First Lady Donna Walker scoop ice cream alongside ASD Superintendent Dr. Paramo & Bill Bishop of Alaska Communications
I am sure I have missed somebody and I know that just writing a blog is no substitute for a personal thank you, but please know that we would not have been nearly as successful without all of you who pitched in to make Flag Day this year a very special day.
And lastly, I want thank our sponsors again – It seems like every year this list gets bigger:
First National Bank
Alaska Sausage and Seafood
Anchorage International Rotary Club
Kaladi Brothers Coffee
North Star Behavioral Health
Marsh & McLennan
Anchorage Symphony Orchestra