METHUEN — Interim Police Chief Randy Haggar and the Methuen Police Department are honored to support the Methuen Office of Veterans Services and the Methuen Field of Honor by raising funds for veterans via a friendly competition with the Methuen Fire Department.
The first-ever Methuen Field of Honor — which city officials hope to make an annual event — enabled anyone to pledge $100 to have a 3×5 foot polyester flag flown in front of the Nevins Library from Oct. 2 to 10.
Those who made a pledge will also receive a pair of custom dog tags imprinted with a loved one’s name, military branch or organization, and years of service. In addition to the dog tags, each flag will be returned to participants along with a wall mount and pole after the flags have flown at the library.
Funds raised by the event will be used by the Office of Veterans Services to support veterans in need and future events honoring veterans.
“Our first responders are proud to support and honor those in our community who have already done so much for all of us,” Mayor Neil Perry said. “Veterans have sacrificed for centuries now to protect our entire nation and way of life, and this is a great way for our police and firefighters — many of whom are veterans themselves — to show their appreciation for those sacrifices.”
The deadline to purchase flags has passed, but last month Interim Chief Haggar accepted a challenge from Veterans Service Officer Paul Jensen, who suggested a friendly competition between the fire and police departments to see who could raise the most money to support the City’s goal of recognizing the nearly 5,000 veterans who live in Methuen.
As a result, Methuen Police were authorized to grow well-kept beards or facial hair until Oct. 10, if they made a $100 pledge to the Field of Honor.
Additionally, Haggar offered to extend the facial hair deadline to Nov. 30 if the Police Department raised more money than the Fire Department, and to personally purchase a grill for the Police Department to hold comradery-building cookouts.
Methuen Police officers responded by raising $5,900 for the field of honor, edging out a win over their respected fellow first responders at the Methuen Fire Department.
In response, Veterans Services Officer Jensen made a donation in the name of the Methuen Police Department to honor the 13 service members killed in Afghanistan last month and support their families.
“I could not be more appreciative of the enthusiasm with which officers in this department responded to this fundraising challenge and friendly competition,” Interim Chief Haggar said. “I hope everyone will visit the Nevins Library to see this patriotic display and take a moment to reflect upon all that veterans have sacrificed for us, and how much we continue to owe them today.”