Unfurling Old Glory

Woodmen of the World donates flags

(Left to right) WoodmenLife Cullman Chapter 1850 Field Associate Ken Bates, Officer Joyce Bates, Field Representative Michelle Robertson, Member Lee Wilhite and Cullman Chapter 1881 Secretary Carol Wilhite present the new flag at the Cullman County Library Cullman Branch Thursday afternoon. (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – WoodmenLife continued its practice of donating flags to local organizations, churches and businesses Thursday afternoon, when Cullman’s Woodmen Chapter 1850 unfurled a new flag at the Cullman County Public Library downtown.

Cullman Chapter Field Associate Ken Bates shared, “We donate a lot of flags, and with the virus going on, during this time I thought we could do something patriotic. In this county, our flag is a constant reminder of the courage required to maintain freedom, the liberty we enjoy and the spirit of patriotism which unites us. We are happy to take the lead in bringing people together to show our respect to this time-honored symbol of freedom.”

Bates said he also had flags to donate to Catoma Baptist Church and the Gold Ridge Volunteer Fire Department.

He continued, “We buy more flags than anybody; that’s including anybody in the United States in the world as far as that goes, because they don’t buy flags much out of country much, you know? We give those flags to schools, churches, civic organizations. We have presented a flag to I’m sure every school in Cullman and I’m sure Cullman County for their flag poles. We give out American flags and Christian flags for churches. Sometimes if we can afford to buy someone a flag pole, we occasionally donate flag poles, also.”

He noted WoodmenLife has been around since 1890.

“We do a lot of other things, as far as what Woodmen’s all about,” said Bates. “We help out volunteer fire departments with different equipment and help out with things like that. We have teacher appreciations and different projects we can work with.”

He continued, “Woodmen, we’re defined as a fraternal-benefit-society. We are an insurance organization, but we’re not for profit. I’ve been with the Woodmen for 44 years, and I’ve given out a lot of flags. The organization gives back to its nearly 700,000 members, who join together in a shared commitment to family, community and country.

“It’s just something, we’re very patriotic, we just want to donate to schools, churches and civic organizations and occasionally we’ll donate to an individual group, but it’s just something that we’ve always been doing since I believe 1959 or something like that. They made contact with me saying that they need the flag and of course there’s lots of locations in Cullman (that need flags). They just call us when we need one. And once the flag starts wearing out, they’ll call again asking for a flag because they know it won’t cost them.”

He also shared the most recent mission the organization: an impact campaign in support of Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

He shared this released statement on supporting the cause:

WoodmenLife launched an impact campaign in support of Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund. The need is immense, and you can help us reach our goal of $1,000,000 for this important cause.

More than 10 million Americans have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and many already lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Still others will face unexpected medical expenses and struggle to feed children out of school indefinitely.

That’s why we need your help. Feeding America – the largest hunger relief organization in the country – works with a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs. They serve more than 40 million people each year and established a fund specifically to meet this challenge.

This campaign will run through April 24, and we will be posting updates on our progress towards the goal as we go along. WoodmenLife has kicked things off with a $30,000 donation – a thousand for each floor of the WoodmenLife Tower! Please consider adding your donation today.

For more information and to make your donation, go to WoodmenLife.org/Impact. Please share the story on your social media so we can spread the word. Thanks for helping us make a difference.

To learn more about the organization, visit www.WoodmenLife.org or call the local Cullman office at 256-739-5281.

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