Bob Traill, a U.S. Marine veteran, at the Portland Rotary Club’s display of ‘Flags for Community Heroes’ in 2019. Traill was honored a Paul Harris Fellowship Award by the Portland Rotary Club at the Maine Mall on Sept. 11. Courtesy photo of the Portland Rotary Club

SOUTH PORTLAND — Beginning on Sept. 11, a display of 100 American flags went on display at the Maine Mall, each one symbolizing and recognizing local community heroes.

“Flags for Community Heroes,” the two-week display, is an effort from the Portland Rotary Club, which wants to show appreciation for those in the greater Portland area who have worked to improve their communities, club member Charlie Frair said.

On Sept. 11, the display kicked off by honoring 98-year-old veteran, Bob Traill, who is possibly the oldest living marine in Maine, Frair said.

“Traill served the United States during World War II and earned a Bronze Star for his efforts as an intelligence officer in Japan as part of the 8th Marines Regiment, 2nd Marine Division,” the Portland Rotary Club announced. “Trail also fought some of the war’s most harrowing battles during the invasion of Saipan and Tinian in 1944.

After the war, Traill became a small business owner and entrepreneur in Portland. For decades, Traill has remained an active community member as a Rotarian, Salvation Army Board member, and Corporator of MaineHealth.”

The veteran was honored with a Paul Harris Fellowship Award on Sept. 11, the highest award any rotary member can receive, Frair said.


“There’s no one who deserves it more than Bob Traill,” he said.

Individuals in the public and members of the Rotary Club are sponsoring heroes, he said.

Those interested in sponsoring a hero, can visit

“Every community has heroes, and we don’t think that heroes get appreciated enough,” Frair said. “The premise is to thank heroes who make our community a better place to live.”

The Portland Rotary Club hopes that members of the public will stop and see the names and think of these heroes, Frair said.

The Portland Rotary Club’s Flags for Community Heroes display is located in the center of the Maine Mall in South Portland. Catherine Bart photo

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