Volunteers needed for Lewiston’s annual cemetery flag project May 21, 23

LEWISTON — The city jelps to recruit volunteers to place almost 7,500 flags by the veterans gravestones in Lewiston’s cemeteries.
Volunteers are needed for this large project. Those who belong to church groups, community service groups, business groups, and others, may volunteer and pass along the information to help spread the word.
The state passed a law in 2001 that requires municipalities to buy and place individual American flags at the gravestone of every veteran buried in each cemetery in that town. The flags must be in place for Memorial Day each year. Lewiston has 13 cemeteries and places almost 7,500 flags.
All work is done by community volunteers.For many of the smaller cemeteries, the abutting neighbors usually place the flags each year. For the two largest cemeteries – Riverside and St. Peter – there are service organizations which have adopted these cemeteries over the years and take care of placing the flags for the city.
Volunteers may assist at the following locations:
Riverside Cemetery, 192 Summer St., 9 a.m. Thursday, May 21; Rain date is 9 a.m. Friday, May 22. The Knights of Columbus are the coordinators for this location. Contact is Leo Baillargeon at 207-784-0389. There are approximately 1,600 flags for Riverside.
St. Peter Cemetery, Switzerland Road, 10 a.m. Saturday, May 23, rain or shine. Meet at the mausoleum. Jerry Dewitt is the contact person for that day and the L/A Veterans Council is the coordinator. There are approximately 4,000 flags for this cemetery.
The plan is to assign teams of five to 10 volunteers to an area of the cemetery and to cover the cemetery in a grid fashion in order to not miss any stone. There is no master list of veterans buried at the cemetery, so volunteers will need to walk each row of stones and read the inscription on each gravesite. If military service is listed on the stone, a flag will be placed there. This is a fairly time-consuming process so many volunteers are appreciated.
Face masks must be worn at all times, and volunteers must provide their own; the organizing groups cannot provide masks for volunteers.
Gloves are optional but encouraged, volunteers should bring their own hand sanitizer.
Social distancing will be enforced for everyone’s safety.
Instructions will be provided in groups of 10 people or less, volunteers can wait in their vehicles or off to the side until the coordinator calls them over.
Wear sneakers or boots in case the grass is wet.
Bring a screwdriver to use to poke a hole in the grass. It makes it much easier to place the wooden dowel of the flag into the ground if you make the hole first.
Work gloves might be helpful.
Plan to bring a water bottle if it is a hot day.
Bring bug spray, hat and sunscreen. Be mindful of ticks.
In order to minimize risk, children/youth are encouraged NOT to participate this year (a majority shift from previous years).
Wearing company or organization T-shirts is welcome.