BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A local watch group has made good on its efforts to replace the flags at Soldiers’ Circle in Oakland Cemetery. On Monday evening, 88 flags were donated at the Fort Madison Fire Department, which oversees the handling of the flags.
The group, spearheaded by Heath Hawthorne who coordinated the flag campaign, Verl Cartwright and Bill Noll, two veterans with the 34th Place Neighborhood watch group, presented the flags at the fire department.
Five of the flags were donated in honor of local veterans; Jack Kenneth Foreman (U.S. Navy WWII), Bob Manka and his father (U.S. Marines WWII, Vietnam), Sean Noll (U.S. Army), and Joe Millmeyer.
The flags at the memorial in Oakland Cemetery on Avenue O had seen better days and the west end group, who typically are watching out for each other’s property, were out to honor local fallen veterans and asked 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 was $1,645. The group donated 88 flags so the department would have a reserve supply. The flags are nylon all-weather flags so the will have a long life-span.
The group said the flags were in poor condition and there was 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 after taking it over from the local VFW chapter because only or two of that group remain.
The group gave special thanks to the Pen City Cruisers, Dry Creek Neighborhood Watch, and Lincoln Neighborhood Watch Group for their assistance in procuring the flags.