On Sept. 1, the American Heroes Club at Schreiber High School erected 100 flags on the field at Weber Middle School, parallel to Port Washington Boulevard, to commemorate those who lost their lives on 9/11.
The club is comprised of a group of high school students who are dedicated to giving back to American veterans. The club’s mission is to help to raise money for organizations, which support veterans. These flags will be up on the field for the entire month of Sept. to honor victims of 9/11.
“This club helps fundraise for organizations, which support veterans, including our local VFW,” John Hyde, President of the American Heroes Club said in an email to the school community. “It also helps commemorate people who have lost their lives serving in wars, as well as those who died during the attacks on the World Trade Center. We do a number of fundraisers throughout the year, but one of our biggest ones is selling American flags to remember all who perished on 9/11.”
This is the third year the club has created the memorial, and was able to plant 100 flags on the field. In 2019, the club planted 130 flags for the project, exceeding their goal by 40 flags from their first fundraiser in 2018. The club plans to keep the number of flags capped at 100 year-after-year, even if the sponsorships exceed or fall below that number.
“The most important thing is having a beautiful display and raising funds for the veterans,” Hyde said.
This is Hyde’s first year as President of the club. He feels honored to be able to help the club continue its mission.
“I became the president by being actively engaged in the club and showing up to everything: every meeting, every event—everything,” Hyde said. “Andrew Athanasian, the former president and founder of the Club noticed and asked me to continue the tradition and take over as president after he graduated.”
Although school will look a bit different due to the pandemic this year, the Heroes club still has a goal in mind.
“Right now, a goal for the club is to just continue doing what we are doing and to help the veteran community,” Hyde said. “We are also trying to build a bigger reputation and increase the number of members in the club. This will be a bit challenging this year with a hybrid of in-school and virtual learning, but we are enthusiastic and confident that the club will continue to grow.”
Hyde spent the last few months setting up the 9/11 memorial and taking in donations for the purchase of the flags.
“I needed to communicate between the school administration, the club members, the club council and the moderator, Mr. Muhlbauer,” Hyde said. “I also reached out to friends and family to sponsor the flags, and had to line the date up with Home Run Electric so that they were available to set up the lights for us. This year we also received a new banner from Chief Graphix, so I coordinated with them to design the new banner. It was a lot of work, but it is rewarding to see it all finished.”
The drive for the flags was held over the summer, each flag cost $50. Those who sponsored the cost of a flag have the option of keeping their flag, or donating it back to the club for future use after the memorial commences. This year, the Heroes club raised $2,000 between donations and people sponsoring flags for the 9/11 memorial. The money will be donated to the Port Washington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1819.
This past January, the club gave more than $4,000 to the Port Washington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1819 for their 2019 memorial fundraiser.
Several Port Washington businesses helped to contribute to the project, including Chief Graphix who donated the banner, Home Run Electric donated the lights for the flags, Annin Flag Company provided the flags at a very generous discount, as well as George Muhlbauer, the club’s moderator.