Following the success of last year’s “Flags Over Fayette,” local resident Steven Armstrong and a group of volunteers have created a non-profit organization that has decided to bring back the original activity along with a subscription-based service called “Flags of Freedom.”
The new organization is called “Flags Over Fayette LLC” and the board consists of Armstrong as chairperson, Ashley DeAtley as vice chairperson, Audra Everhart as secretary, and Dreama Brown as treasurer, along with members Lynn Parks, Michael Callahan, Amanda Potter, Keturah Bennett and Bruce Ream.
“The purpose of it is two-fold. One is to spread patriotism into the town and the other aspect is we’re going to be raising money and funds for local veterans’ groups,” said Armstrong.
Although the non-profit will make “Flags Over Fayette” happen again this year much like last year when approximately 100 volunteers came together to distribute 1,600 miniature flags in yards along the main streets of Washington Court House at no cost, “Flags of Freedom” is a separate activity that is now underway.
According to Armstrong, by paying $50 per year, a resident or business will support veteran programs throughout Fayette County, have a 10-foot flag pole installed in their yard along with a flag for Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend, Flag Day June 14, Veteran’s Day Nov. 11, Sept. 11th and Fourth of July.
Proceeds from the service will be given yearly to local veteran agencies. Those who wish can sponsor a subscription for a veteran or any other member in the community of their choosing or of the non-profit’s choosing.
Both the pole and flag will be placed a week prior to each holiday by volunteers and then be removed one week after. The storage of the flags and poles will be the responsibility of the non-profit.
“We’ll have a group come out and put a mount in your yard,” explained Armstrong. “When (we) take the flag out, there’s going to be nothing left you’re going to see except for a cap that is flush with the ground. You won’t be able to see it from the road.”
“Then during the holiday times we’ll just put it back in the ground and you’ll have the 10-foot flag pole again,” said Armstrong. “It’ll take us literally 30 seconds each time (to place and remove the pole) once it’s mounted into the ground. We’ll have a group, a truckload of kids. We’ll pull up, jump out, the flag will already be on the pole, just drop it in the ground. Go on to the next house.”
Volunteers are to include various people with an emphasis on local youth.
“It’s all about the kids being involved,” said Armstrong. “We’ve got the wrestling team going to be involved, we’ve got tons of 4-H groups—their service projects are going to take part in this. It should be a pretty good activity for everybody.”
Armstrong recently made a request for sponsors to assist the new non-profit with starting funds to get needed materials. Those sponsors were asked to pay $250 and in return would receive flag service along with two event shirts.
Although he only asked for six sponsors, the non-profit now has eight and had to turn down several more. Those eight sponsors are Point Realty, Collins Septic, Six Insurance Services, CS Title Agency, Jim Van Dyke’s Automotive, Showplace Furniture Gallery, Armored Diesel and Rob Shipley DAGR Home Inspections. Although sponsorship is closed, any individual or entity is welcome to donate to the cause, according to Armstrong.
Not only is Shipley a sponsor for the project, but he will be helping by building the poles and the “apparatus” that will be placed in the ground as a mount for the poles, explained Armstrong.
“(Shipley is also) going to have the kids come out that are involved in our group and teach them how to use tools to make the flag poles, cut the poles, paint them, stuff like that,” said Armstrong. “It’ll be a good experience for kids that want to do that.”
According to Armstrong, the responsibility of any liability of the poles resides with the owner of the property however, he explained they will not be placing the pole deep into the ground and subscribers will get to decide where to locate it. Although the subscription is open to all in Fayette County, not just homeowners, it is suggested to check with landlords and property owners prior to subscribing.
“The VFW Riders—that’s who we’re going to donate to this year, they build ramps for disabled veterans and stuff like that,” said Armstrong. “They’re a great group.”
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.