Fair visitors signed their support for the U.S. military on banners provided by State Farm at the North Dakota State Fair Friday.
Two large banners with emblems of six military divisions were available for people to sign their names.
"We are hoping to fill them all the way full," said Duane Richter, agency field executive with State Farm in Bismarck. Richter said the military banners will be sent to the troops after Friday. It hadn't yet been decided which branches would receive each of the banners. Represented on the banners were the National Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
State Farm agents Bob Flach of Harvey, Bryan Schweitzer of Bottineau and Roberta Storm of Bismarck sign a banner in support of the nation’s military at the State Farm presentation during the State Fair Friday.
The banners were part of presentation by the insurance company that included giveaways and displays by area agents under a tent on the fairgrounds. This is the first year that State Farm has brought banners to the fair.
"It's just something that we wanted to do. We have a lot of patriotic people that are coming to the fair so we thought that would be a good thing to do to show our support for our troops," Richter said.
A number of State Farm employees are former military, current National Guard members or have families in some branch of the military, he said.
State Farm actively recruits veterans and former military people for job openings, he said. For several years, G.I. Jobs Magazine has recognized State Farm as one of the nation's top military-friendly employers. The company also has financially supported a number of activities and scholarships benefiting military members or their families.
In North Dakota, State Farm partners with the North Dakota Safety Council, providing a grant that supports the Alive at 25 education program for new drivers. Friday's State Farm display included a demonstration by the Safety Council showing the impact of a rollover on a couple of dummies, one belted and one not.
Typically, State Farm sponsors a fair booth in a commercial building. This year the company chose instead to do something special with one-day event because of the experience of last summer's flood in Minot.
"Last year was a trying year for Minot people and agents," Richter said. "We wanted to show our support for our friends in Minot as well as our troops."