Merrill Associated Bank location wins honors for Veterans Day display
TINA L. SCOTT
Each November, in recognition of Veterans Day, all Associated Bank locations–and there are more than 200 branches in 100+ communities throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota–create displays in their lobbies to honor and thank veterans. The Associated Bank branch on E. Main St. in Merrill has been doing this for years, hoping to be selected as one of the company’s winners.
“All branches send in photos to our executive leadership team, and they pick the top branches for the company as winners,” said Emily Gibson, Assistant Manager II for Community Markets at the Merrill branch. “The offices that win get to donate $250 to their local American Legion.”
This year Merrill was chosen for one of the top honors, and Gibson and the Merrill team were thrilled their display was chosen as a 2022 winner.
“This display is something that my team and I take a lot of pride in,” she said. “This year’s display we got some of the community involved, as well!”
It became pretty elaborate as more people contributed. The Merrill Historical Society brought a World War II uniform to display, along with patches, medals, and a book featuring stories from local veterans that community members could take, Gibson said.
Individuals from the Northwoods Veterans Post brought in a poppy dress, wreaths, photos, helmets, and a book about Iraq to include in the display.
“My employees and I also had our own personal items” from family members who served, Gibson said. For example, “My colleague, Corey, brought in his uniform and some items from the time he served.”
Gibson and the staff at the Merrill branch created all the large poppies and the thank you board. As customers came through, they were able to add their name if they were a veteran or add the name of a loved one who had served, she said.
“One of my favorite parts of this whole display was that we had students from Washington School color pictures and write notes thanking our veterans, and we were able to give them out to our customers who served,” Gibson said. “We also had customers who would take one home for a loved one.”
“Washington School was also kind enough to make a video that we were able to show, of the students saying thank you.”
More than Midwest based customer care, this is an example of Midwest patriotism and Merrill pride, and the win came as the result of a community and team effort.
“This is my office’s favorite display we do every year,” Gibson said. “We have already started discussing next year’s display and how we can get even more of our community involved with it.”