Exchange Club’s Healing Field coming in September

By Kathleen Gilluly
Thursday, August 2, 2018
Photo by David Everett Strickler on Unsplash

Photo by David Everett Strickler on Unsplash

Jennifer Sletten and Leif Welhaven

Jennifer Sletten and Leif Welhaven

As Leif Welhaven said while discussing the Laurel Exchange Club’s upcoming project, “There is such an outpouring of support for veterans and community here, it makes sense to have the Healing Field in Laurel this fall.” Welhaven is a key member of the Billings Breakfast Exchange Club and helped start the Laurel chapter almost a year-and-a-half ago. Now he is working with Laurel club members on their biggest project-to-date.

“We have been very active and gotten a lot done over the past year,” said Jennifer Sletten, a committee member who is helping with the Healing Field. “Ken Gomer was in charge and he was waylaid by an accident so officially Susan Walters is heading up this project. But, it’s going to be a club-wide effort.”

The Healing Field is an impressive display of American flags standing in formation in honor of folks recognized as heroes, Sletten said. “You could designate a flag to be in honor of a veteran, the victim of child abuse or a Laurel firefighter,” she said. “Anyone can sponsor a flag and it will be placed with a tag naming the hero you want to recognize.” The cost to sponsor a flag is $40. For just $15 more, the sponsor can keep the flag and the special memories it will evoke after being a part of ceremonies over four days from Saturday, Sept. 8 through Sept. 11.

“The Healing Field will be set up just north of the Laurel Middle School,” Welhaven explained. “The 1,000 flags will be striking in that location and the funds we raise will all go towards deserving organizations.”

Beneficiaries of the funds will be the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Laurel and the Family Tree Center which provides programs to prevent child abuse in Yellowstone County.

On Saturday, Sept. 8, the field will be set up and activities will be focused on fire fighters and first responders. While many will be individually recognized by sponsors, Saturday’s display will be dedicated to the heroes that residents depend on every day.

On Sunday Sept. 9, the day’s ceremonies are reserved to honor veterans and military. Laurel has myriad veterans of all stripes and branches, as well as a number of veterans’ support groups.

On Monday, Sept. 10, recognition will focus of hometown heroes. There will also be a military Tattoo ceremony.

The Healing Field will conclude after Tuesday, Sept. 11, when there will be a recounting of the events of September 11, 2001, and a closing ceremony.

To sponsor a flag or to become a business sponsor with financial assistance or in-kind services, contact Walters at 860-3214, or visit

As the schedule of events is determined a more complete list of ceremonies and times will be listed in the Outlook.


Upcoming Events

Thursday, October 18, 2018
Mondays, 10 a.m., Thursdays, 1 p.m., Laurel Senior Center, 720 S. 4th St.
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Thursdays, 6-6:30 p.m., Old Middle School, Room 102
Friday, October 19, 2018
First & third Thursdays, 6 p.m., at The Crossings, 600 Roundhouse Dr.
Friday, October 19, 2018
First & third Thursdays, 7 p.m.; Laurel Masonic Temple, 9900 Airport Road (except June-August)
Friday, October 19, 2018
Mondays & Fridays, 1 p.m., Laurel Senior Center, 720 S. 4th St.
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Third Saturdays, 1 p.m., The Crossings, 600 Roundhouse Dr.


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