BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON -With just over two weeks to go, the 34th Place Neighborhood watch group is more than halfway to their goal of replacing all the flags at the Soldier’s Circle.
The flags at the memorial in Oakland Cemetery on Avenue O have seen better days and the west end group, who typically are watching out for each other’s property, are out to honor local fallen veterans and are asking for the community’s help to help them reach their goal.
Lorie Seager, one of the members of the watch group said the cost of 50 flags would be $1,645 and to date they’ve raised approximately $900.
“We’re going to set up a table at the upcoming car show at Baxter Sports Complex and the Dry Creek Neighborhood watch is collecting some money, too.” Seager said.
The Pen City Car Show will take place on May 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and donations will be accepted at that event. It’s also a pretty cool place to see some jazzed up automobiles.
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 the flags are all torn and tattered,” Seager said. The group didn’t necessarily want to do a fundraiser, but wanted to make sure all the flags were replaced and sometimes it’s easier for people to just donate the flag rather than making the purchase themselves. The watch group is a non-profit so all donations are tax deductible.
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 should contact either of the two members.