Flags line Sleepy Eye downtown

Bank president dedicates 115 flags to veterans

Staff photo by Fritz Busch First Security Bank President Tom Goetz of Sleepy Eye talks about how an American flag socket replacement in front of the bank in the Highway 14 reconstruction project led him to buy 115 flags for local businesses at the Sleepy Eye Veteran’s Park Friday. Joined by the Sleepy Eye Honor Guard and downtown business people, Goetz said the flags honor all veteans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for the people that live here.

SLEEPY EYE — It was a cold and windy Veterans Day Friday afternoon but that didn’t prevent 115 large American flags from showing their colors, lining downtown Sleepy Eye.

Flanked by the Sleepy Eye Honor Guard in Veterans Park on Main Street, First American Bank President and retired Army Reserve Captain Tom Goetz humbly talked about how the bank wound up supplying the flags to Sleepy Eye.

“It’s a story that involves a vision and a dream that started out pretty small. So small, it begins with a two-inch hole in the ground,” Goetz said. “The story is about a project that involves a relatively small effort on our part to honor the huge effort and sacrifice our service members have made, continue to make, and the courage it takes to defend honor, duty, and country.”

Goetz said the story is a reminder every day of what it took to get us to where we are and a reminder of the men and women who continue their contributions to keep us where we’re at.

In addition, Goetz said the story starts with the Highway 14 reconstruction and sidewalk replacement project in downtown Sleepy Eye.

“The engineer in charge came into the bank one day, inquiring where or not we wanted the flag socket in front of the bank replaced when the sidewalk was re-done,” Goetz said. He told the engineer he wanted the flag socket replaced.

Goetz said his bank staff told him about the “good old days” when every downtown business had a flag socket used to fly “open for business” flags and on the occasion of a veteran’s funeral, a coordinated effort was made to have every business fly an American flag in the veteran’s honor.”

Goetz said as he and others talked about the flag, it was mentioned that it would be nice to again have the American flags in front of every business on Main Street. He noted a “tremendous amount of cooperation from all he talked to including the Servicemen’s Club, Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Authority and City of Sleepy Eye.

Goetz said after discussing the idea with the Bank Board of Directors, it was agreed to underwrite the entire flag project cost.

“Our vision that started with a single hole in the ground has a fairly large result, placing 115 American flags at Sleepy Eye business locations.

Goetz said the flags honor every service man and woman who served our county, especially in honor of all who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and for the people that live here.

“These flags represent courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity. All the qualities needed to serve a cause larger than one’s self,” Goetz said. “The flag represents courage to do the right thing, even when there’s pressure to do otherwise. Plus pride in one’s self, in your community, determination in getting a project done right and cooperating for a greater good, that sometimes benefits others more than it benefits you.”

Goetz thanked the First Security Bank Board of Directors, and everyone who cooperated and encouraged the project.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).