Healing Field in Farmington: Remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Traeden Blackhat unrolled an American flag as part of the Flags of Remembrance: Healing Field display on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington football field.

Blackhat was among the members of the Piedra Vista High School wrestling team helping set up flags on May 27.

He said he was thinking about the meaning behind the display and how important it is to people visiting throughout the Memorial Day weekend.

"I think it's nice to do this," Blackhat said.

This is the 10th time the San Juan County Rotary Club has organized the display, which is open to the public until 5 p.m. on May 30.

San Juan County Rotary Club member Jeanine Bingham-Kelly attaches a customized dog tag to a flag as part of the Flags of Remembrance: Healing Field display on May 27 at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington football field.

The display provides space to honor and remember military personnel and first responders who died while serving.

"The idea is to bring back 'memorial' in Memorial Day and to remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice," Drew Degner, a Rotarian, said.

He explained that the Healing Field started when he was participating in Leadership San Juan about 10 years ago.

The class selected the Healing Field as their service project that year in partnership with the Rotary Club.

San Juan County Rotary Club member Don Black helps put up the Flags of Remembrance: Healing Field display on May 27 on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington football field.

"It's awesome that it's still going," Degner said.

He added that he continues to help at the Healing Field because he hears stories and comments from family members who visit.

"That's why I continue to do it and to see how it does affect those family members, friends that have lost loved ones and what this truly means to them," Degner said.

Rotarian Melissa Meechan held several customized dog tags that are black and on gold-colored chains.

These tags, which are attached to the flags, have the names of San Juan County residents who died while serving in the military as well as information such their rank, military branch and hometown.

There are tags for first responders as well, she explained.

"I've seen people come out who have lost family members. I've seen people come out who themselves have been service members," Meechan said. "They come here, and they grieve. Something has to be processed and felt for them and the field gives them that."

San Juan County Rotary Club member Melissa Meechan holds customized dog tags on May 27 as volunteers set up the Flags of Remembrance: Healing Field display on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington football field.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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