Local Rotarians fly Texas flag in solidarity with hurricane victims

MIDDLEBURY — People walking and traveling around Middlebury’s Court Square this past weekend noticed an unfamiliar red-white-and-blue flag buffeted by the wind. Middlebury Rotary Club members placed the Texas state flag in Court Square as a symbolic gesture of solidarity with residents of the Lone Star State, who continue to deal with devastating flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
“We thought it would be a nice thing to do over (Labor Day) weekend,” longtime Middlebury Rotarian Liz Smith said of the flag posting. Smith said other Rotary Clubs have been following suit throughout the organization’s 7850 District, which includes the northern half of Vermont and New Hampshire and the southern part of Quebec, Canada.
The Texas flag was flying among a stand of U.S. flags that the local Rotary posted on Court Square and around town as part of the regular holiday observation.
Meanwhile, a member of Middlebury Rotary Club is providing direct aid to folks in hurricane-ravaged Texas. Judy Brown has been volunteering with the Red Cross at a shelter in the Austin area, noted Rotary District 7850 Governor Eric Denu. Brown has been keeping friends and family apprised of her volunteer efforts through occasional Facebook posts.
Here is Brown’s most recent post, dated Sept. 3:
“I am still in Austin and today our group was ordered to take a day off. We closed our shelter where I met and developed friendships with many of those displaced. We moved all to a mega shelter and helped them get settled. Tomorrow our group will go to a shelter close by to give the volunteers there a day off. My heart breaks for those going through this, with many losing everything. Many also were in their homes when the storm hit, so scary! I’ve tried to spread hope and encouragement to them all.”
The mission of Rotary International is to “provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional and community leaders.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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