As a retired teacher and coach, Rich Gaard is a familiar name in our community. But his familiarity goes a step beyond at Winneshiek Medical Center. Rich and his wife, Carol, support a special American flag program at Winneshiek Medical Center to honor all military men and women, past, present, and future, from Winneshiek County and the surrounding area.
“The flag flown over Winneshiek Medical Center is not just any flag – each one is special because it has flown over the Pentagon in honor of our military,” says Rich. A retired colonel in the Army Reserve, Rich served as the Deputy Legislative Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. “When I retired from my position at the Pentagon, the Chief of Staff asked me to leave with a mission to do as much as I could to recognize our veterans,” says Rich. “I was aware of the Pentagon flag program and began to work in cooperation with the staff at Winneshiek Medical Center to dedicate their flags for our military.”
“We are grateful to the Gaard’s for their donation to the WMC Foundation so that we may sustain this program,” says Holly Kanengieter, WMC Foundation Coordinator. “Many patients and visitors enter our doors each day, some of whom are veterans or families of veterans, and it is our pleasure to welcome them by flying the American flag at the main entrance in their honor.”