In honor of the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, America’s Heartland Remembers filled Art Hill in Forest Park with 7,024 flags from September 6th through September 11th. Each flag represented the brave men and women that served our country in the War on Terror that never returned home to their loved ones. The flags were placed in chronological order according to the date they died, along with their photograph and military dog tags. Visitors were allowed to walk through the display of flags to honor each U.S. military service member. It was a beautifully breathtaking and humbling sight. Rick Randall, senior vice president of Pace Properties, helped take down the flags the morning of September 12th. In the process, he noticed that the majority of them were soaking wet from the morning dew. Randall and his team only had a few hours to have all the flags removed from Art Hill, so in a moment of panic where decisions needed to be made quickly to avoid the growth of mold or mildew, Randall made a call to Woodard’s Chief Revenue Officer, Dave Christoff. Christoff, Air Force Veteran, knew that Woodard was just the company to help – “As a company founded by WWII Veteran, Earl Woodard, I was honored when I received the call to help Rick and America’s Heartland Remembers dry out the Flags of Valor. Woodard currently employs 10 veterans and has received the Service Member Patriot Award. Patriot Awards are awarded to individual supervisors, not to an entire staff or organization as a whole. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed Randall states, “We were in a panic and you saved us! We only had a short time to act before mold began to form, and we knew the type of company Woodard was so we decided to reach out to you for help in properly drying the flags to keep them in good condition.” Once the flags were removed from Art Hill they were transferred to a facility and placed upright against the walls to begin drying. The flags were bundled together at the top and bottom and kept bundled by their specific rows. Flags that were more saturated were taken out of their bundles and leaned individually against the wall to ensure proper air circulation. Other flags that were not heavily saturated were unbundled at the bottom to allow for air movement. As a proud sponsor of the event, Woodard donated time and equipment by bringing in 32 fans and 4 dehumidifiers. The fans were placed along the perimeter of the room beneath the flags to create air circulation around them. The dehumidifiers were placed in the center of the room to pull any excess moisture out of the air. Only 24 hours later, Randall said, “the results have been amazing!” After the flags have been properly dried out and folded, they will be presented to the families of all fallen soldiers represented by them. A majority of the flags have been claimed by their respective families. Unfortunately, there are some families that have not yet been located. Volunteers of America’s Heartland Remembers will be actively researching to find these families in order to present them with the flag of their family’s hero. To learn more about the event please visit flagsofvalorusa.com. You can also follow the event on Facebook, Twitter, andInstagram.