BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Not only is this neighborhood group helping fight crime, but now they are taking on a big patriotic task.
The 34th Place Neighborhood Watch, a group of neighbors that have banded together to help protect each other’s property and well-being, are now asking for the community’s help in replacing the flags on Soldier’s Circle in Oakland Cemetery on Avenue O.
The group says the flags are in poor condition and there is no budget anywhere to replace the flags. The Fort Madison Fire Department has taken on the responsibility of putting up and bringing down the flags, but nothing is in place to replace the flags.
“The VFW used to put up all the flags out there, but they’re not here anymore,” said group member Berl Cartwright. “The fire department, through family ties, just kind of inherited the flags and put them up, but there is no funding anywhere whatsoever, to replace those flags.”
The flags cost $32.90 each if purchased in groups of more than 50, so the group is looking to raise $2,000 to purchase enough flags to to replace the worn ones or have flags donated, but they are asking that the flags have the dimensions of 5.5′ x9′ and be all-nylon, all-weather flags.
What we’re trying to do on Soldier’s Circle is help the fire department who has said they are all torn and tattered,” said Lorie Seager another of the group’s members. “We don’t necessarily want to do a fundraiser, but more of a ‘would you like to donate a flag’ or they can donate money to the project. We thought even if we got more donations than we need then we could just box them up and give them to the fire department and say ‘Here’s some backups’.”
The group is hoping to have enough flags to replace the worn ones by Memorial Day so they are setting a May 12 goal to have enough flags donated or money raised to purchase the flags.
Two of the group’s members have volunteered to take all calls to make donations and provide additional information. Jan Gill can be reached 319-372-7475 and Lorie Seager can be reached at 319-470-9376.
Anyone interested in donating a flag or donating money to the project, would need to call these two ladies,” said group member Steve Howard.