In recognition of Gold Star Family Remembrance Week, the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms sent 751 families of fallen service members a flag to fly in their honor last week.
"There is no greater grief than losing a child, spouse or family member, and no greater sacrifice a family can make than losing their loved one in service to our country. I'm proud to support our Gold Star Families by helping lead the Senate resolution recognizing this week as Gold Star Family Remembrance Week—a time to pause out of respect for all of our fallen servicemembers' families, and their sacrifices to our country," says Sen. Joni Ernst, a combat veteran. "As a former member of the Iowa State ROTC, I was so glad to join Iowa State ROTC cadets, my friend Sen. Tim Scott, and folks with both Iowa Select Farms and Iowa Survivor Outreach Services today to send flags to our Gold Star Families. God bless these American patriots."
Volunteers from Iowa State University's Reserve Officers' Training Corps, Sen. Ernst, and Sen. Scott joined employees of Iowa Select Farms and the Survivor Outreach Services to assemble the packages for delivery.
"These Service Members bravely served our country and should be honored for their sacrifice," says Jeff Hansen, president and CEO of Iowa Select Farms. "We can think of no better way of honoring these men and women than by an act of service in packaging these flags for the surviving families through our Project: Food and Fellowship."
The flag was designed by Mike Peterson, an Iowa graphic artist known for his all-American designs for John Deere, Iowa Select Farms and Pioneer. It bears the words "honor" and "remember" as a call to action to live out every day. The word "and" is yellow to represent the Gold Star Lapel Button awarded to families of service members who died in combat. Herbert Hoover is the only president from Iowa, and the quote is from his 1931 Memorial Day speech at Valley Forge. Finally, the folded flag signifies the flag presented in memory of the family's loved one.
A new program in 2019, Project: Food and Fellowship aids Iowa-based family readiness coordinators, child and youth program coordinators and military community volunteers in creating and hosting social gatherings for active duty, reservists, veterans, Gold Star families and all military families.
Grants available for the following types of events:
- Community recognition of active, reserve, veteran and Gold Star Families during significant days and observances for the United States Armed Forces
- Community or unit-based programs that provide unique/special needs to military families—i.e. adopt a family, back to school supplies, children's gifts, etc.
- Unit-based holiday or special occasion gatherings coordinated by unit leadership and/or family services coordinators
- Community welcome home or send-off events
- Military child and youth programs
An information sheet about the program can be found here.