Rochesterfest Field of Flags Returns

(ABC 6 News) – It’s the third annual Rochesterfest Field of Flags, an event created to honor people who make a difference in the community.

One person behind this event is Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson.

“The inspiration came right after COVID and honoring everyone that had worked so hard during COVID to keep things going,” said Sheriff Torgerson.

He is also president of the Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation of Southeast Minnesota, the organization selling ribbons to put on the flags.

Sheriff Torgerson says they have had about 150 to 200 flags filled up each of the past couple years. This year, there are 400 and he wants all of them to be filled with tributes.

While Torgerson and retired Captain Bill Reiland are both part of law enforcement, they also want to stress it’s not just people who put on a badge that are honored.

“It’s not about law enforcement specifically; it’s about firefighters, nurses, educators, anybody,” said Sheriff Torgerson.

Reiland has a few family members he would add.

“I have a couple daughters who are nurses. I would put their names on. I have a father-in-law who was in law enforcement for many years in Rochester,” said Reiland.

There was also a ribbon for Jack Werner who worked for the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, but was killed on the line of duty in 1977.

John Wood is a nurse practitioner. He works with a paramedic that goes the extra mile.

“Wendy Fitzgerald, is one of the hardest working, most dedicated people I know. If you are sick or injured, you want Wendy to walk through that door and be part of your care team,” said Wood.

In addition to being a paramedic, Wendy is also a veteran.

Finally, Wayne Harvey is a board member and volunteer helping set up Rochesterfest. The theme of “Be a Kid Again” makes him think of all of the youth making a difference.

“Through church groups, through volunteerism, kids that tutor,” said Harvey.

Harvey also wants to honor those who are volunteering, especially those helping set up Rochesterfest.

“Volunteers that help Rochesterfest and also all the volunteers for the parade,” said Harvey.

Members of the Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation of Southeast Minnesota will be available everyday 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. near the main stage at Soldiers Field through this upcoming weekend.

Check out information on the Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation of Southeast Minnesota here. Also, a link to donate to them directly is located here.