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Honoring those who served

Matt Primrose (left) and Dan Smith (right) stand next to the new flagpole at the YMCA entrance

Raising a flag for our veterans

If you’ve been to the Keene Family YMCA recently you may have noticed a new flagpole at the main entrance. The installation was completed in preparation for our upcoming Veterans Day celebration during which a new American flag will be raised for the very first time.

But before we get into the details of the celebration and invite you to join us in honoring those who served this Veterans Day, let’s talk about the ‘why’ behind the Y’s new flagpole.

Image contains text: as a token of our appreciation, all veterans are invited to use the YMCA facility free of charge november 7-13, 2021 Thank you for your service

More than words

Everyone is welcome here at the Y – everyone! Inclusivity is more than just a buzz word at the Y because the community is actively engaged in everything we do. It is part of every conversation amongst those who set the strategic direction for the organization. And it is central to our daily efforts to engage and support our community.

With Veterans Day coming up, we want to honor and celebrate our brave veterans in a meaningful way. And how does one ensure that they’re reaching a certain population in an appropriate way and with clear intentions? You actively engage by asking them.

Fortunately, we have Matt.

A meaningful celebration

Matt Primrose joined the leadership team at the Keene Family YMCA in August of this year, taking on the role of Facilities Manager. Matt grew up in Swanzey and Sullivan, and was an accomplished athlete, running track and cross country for Monadnock Regional High School, before he decided to join the Army a year after graduation. He served in the U.S. Army from 2000-2008. During that time, he served in Bosnia in 2001-2002, Afghanistan in 2003-2004, and Iraq in 2005-2006 and 2007-2008.

When it came time to start planning, we went straight to Matt for his advice.

It took maybe an hour for him to come back with a brilliant idea…

Install a new flagpole.

How simple! Simple, but meaningful.

“The flag that currently flies at our entrance needs to be replaced with something more significant,” Matt said, “and this is the perfect opportunity.”

The flag to be replaced is permanently attached to the awning at the building’s entrance. Installing a new flagpole would allow us to raise and lower the flag on Memorial Day, and in remembrance of those who have earned our deepest respect. This is something Matt believes is important and will be noticed by those who’ve served – including the oft’ forgotten military servants, military families.

“A facility like this should have a proper flagpole that we maintain with pride,” Matt continued. “It’s a great way to show our support of America’s veterans and to further our intention of being a truly inclusive organization.”

All systems go

Within just a few hours more the team agreed that the new flagpole was a great way to honor our veterans, to reach even deeper into our community, and to advance our equity and justice work.

DEI, an acronym for “diversity, equity, and inclusion” is top of mind for everyone at the Y these days. Particularly for the leadership team who has committed to weaving DEI efforts into everything they do.

So, Matt went to work to find a sponsor for our new flagpole. And it took no time at all for him to find one.

Jake’s 5 Star, a local business known for their support of veterans, agreed to foot the bill. And just like that… the flagpole was ordered, and preparations were being made for its installation.

Event details

All are invited to the Keene Family YMCA for the flag raising ceremony on Veteran’s Day, Thursday, November 11th.

The ceremony will officially begin at 12:00 pm with the raising of the flag, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by local high school sophomore and Y member, Ella Hoy, and the singing of the “Lift Every Voice” by Kaylah Curry, first-year student, and Pierre Morton, Chief Diversity Officer, at Franklin Pierce University.

The ceremony will close with a dedication address by Keene Family YMCA’s Board Chair, Dave Therrien.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Please note: the Y will be closed morning of November 11th from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm for the Y’s annual staff training day and will reopen at the conclusion of the flag raising ceremony. The Aquatics Center will reopen at 1:30 pm.

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