Volume 8, Issue 44  |  June 2, 2023Subscribe

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Take Five: Meet Ross Stewart, field general of the Field of Honor


This year, the 14th Annual Field of Honor, presented by the Exchange Club of Newport Harbor, will commemorate both Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day, and runs from Friday, May 19 through Monday, May 29 at Castaways Park (16th Street and Dover Drive).

Not only does Ross Stewart serve as field general for the Field of Honor, he is on the Board of Directors of the Exchange Club and the chair of the Americanism Committee.

This spectacular event, the posting of 1,776 large (3’x5’) American flags, displayed along the paths of beautiful Castaways Park overlooking Newport Harbor, honors armed forces members, past and present, and first responders who have served or are serving our country and our communities.

Stewart’s role as field general is one that holds special meaning. Stu News Newport caught up with him to get a bit of his history with the Exchange Club – and to gain further understanding of his dedication to it and the Field of Honor.

take five with flagpole

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Photos by Lana Johnson

Some of the 1,776 flags on display

Q: How did you get involved with the Exchange Club and the Field of Honor (FOH) and is there anything new that readers should be aware of regarding the display this year? Since this will be the 14th year, how has it evolved over the years?

A: When Kathy and I moved permanently to Newport Beach, we met Ed Romeo at a fitness class sponsored by the OASIS Senior Center. Ed convinced us to join OASIS and steered me toward the Exchange Club. Long story short, Kathy became president of the OASIS Center for three years and is now the vice president of operations. I joined the Exchange Club of Newport Harbor and chair the committee for Americanism. The Field of Honor is one of our main activities and fundraisers for the club. The Field of Honor honors vets, first responders, police and fire, plus our lifeguards.

take five marine statue

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Flags at Castaway Park Marine statue

Q: What does the role of field general for the Field of Honor involve? Is there a particular moment or interaction during the FOH that stands out in your memory?

A: As field general, I am responsible for the coordination of flag installation and field maintenance – 1,776 flags take time and patience to install. Thank God for our Camp Pendleton Marines (28) that help us install the flags. Without the Marines, it would be a very difficult task. We – they – installed all the flags in about four hours. Oorah!

Q: The Field of Honor holds a significant place in the hearts of many Newport Beach residents. What does it personally mean to you?

A: I did not serve in the Armed Services (lottery number 328 Vietnam War), but my dad and two brothers and father-in-law were service members. I feel a responsibility to honor their service. The FOH is my way of giving back.

To me, the Field of Honor represents a salute of gratitude and thanks for all the service and commitment our military and first responders have done and are currently doing for our community. Our flag dedication to our MIAs and those killed in action is especially moving.

take five pathway

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Visitors view flags along pathway

Q: Not only are you on the board of directors, you are the chair of the Americanism Committee. Could you describe the functions of the committee?

A: Exchange Club activities promote pride in our country, respect for the flag and appreciation of our freedoms.

Q: It’s our understanding that you’re at the Exchange Club almost every day. What other interests do you have in addition to your dedication to the club?

A: The Exchange Club meets every Thursday for lunch and a presentation from community and business leaders. The club reviews requests from nonprofit organizations in the community for funding. Scholarships to students heading off to college or future training are awarded yearly. When the FOH begins in May, I am there almost every day helping supervise the field and promoting patriotism.

Editor’s Note: Admission to Castaways Park and to the flag display is free. Donations are welcome and much appreciated. For more information, visit

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