Folks may have noticed the new U.S. and Mad River Valley flags fluttering along Route 100. These flags came about because the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce received a $3,500 grant from the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS). This grant enabled the purchase of new American flags as well as Mad River Valley banners that alternate on telephone poles along Route 100 in downtown Waitsfield. The flags will fly throughout the summer. The Foundation for Rural Service awards grants to rural communities served by NTCA members, of which Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom is a member. "These grants are designed to provide support to a variety of local efforts to build and sustain a high quality of life in rural America. The required matching funds contribution was provided by Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom," explained chamber executive director Eric Friedman.
“The flags are a great way to beautify our community for the summer and help to brand the Mad River Valley. It also works to define a sense of place for our downtown. “I’m so appreciative of the Foundation for Rural Service for this grant and what it means to The Valley. I’m also thankful to Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, specifically Roger Nishi, Lorraine Keener and Eric Haskin for all of their work and assistance on this project," Friedman added.
It had been several years since the flags have flown throughout town. Overtime, the flags became worn and in need of replacement and the volunteer group that originally coordinated the effort is no longer active. WCVT employees volunteered to hang the flags and banners that will be in place until after Labor Day, he pointed out.
“FRS is proud to support these projects throughout the country to promote health, safety, education and growth in rural communities,” said FRS executive director Pam Becker. “The pandemic has shown us how important access to these vital services is, and these organizations have done tremendous work in their communities. This year we had an incredible number of applications and we awarded $89,000 to 20 grant recipients. Thank you to the NTCA members who partnered with FRS to fund these projects.”