Guttenberg Rotary purchases new flags

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The Guttenberg Rotary Club has recently purchased, stabilized and displayed 75 American flags along River Park Drive and sections of Guttenberg's downtown business district. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

The United States flag, also referred to as Old Glory, The Star Spangled Banner or simply The Stars and Stripes, is a strong symbol of American identity and national pride. 

Thanks to the Guttenberg Rotary Club, our nation's symbol waves proudly up and down River Park Drive and throughout our community's downtown business district. The Rotary Club's generosity and dedication to creating a welcoming view as locals and tourists travel throughout our community has been a challenging project. 

Mary Waterman, spokesperson for the Rotary Club, told The Press, "The Rotary originally purchased 70 high-quality, three by five foot flags and poles. Our intention for the purchase of the heavy-duty, larger flags was to create a large visual impact in hopes that the well-made cotton flags would hold up against all weather conditions." She went on to say, "We had good intentions but unfortunately the flags became too heavy during rainstorms, creating too much weight for the metal poles to support." 

The plastic clips on the flags created an additional problem. "The flags are flown from May through November. During the course of changeable weather, the plastic clips were often breaking," Waterman said.  

The group tried to shore up the weakened poles by inserting a wooden dowel in each metal pole to increase support. They contacted Kann Manufacturing Corporation, and the local company fabricated stronger clips out of scrap metal to replace the plastic clips that were often breaking due to harsh weather conditions. 

Waterman explained, "Even with the additional wood support and replacement of the plastic clips Mother Nature continued to throw complications our way. The poles continued to snap during harsh rain and wind conditions." 

The Rotary understands the importance of displaying our Nation's symbol properly. The group revisited their quandary and decided to try a different angle. 

The group purchased new smaller, lighter-weight flags to replace the aging original flags. 

Waterman commented, "Jean Green, Guttenberg Rotary president, purchased the smaller replacement flags on sale through Kuempel's Hardware." 

The 75 new flags, made in America, are each two by five feet. Each pole is reinforced with a wooden dowel and replacement metal clips have been added. The new flags are secured to the flagpole with a sleeve and the lighter-weight, fade-resistant, polyester fabric will make them less heavy during rainstorms. New brackets were replaced where needed. 

"Jean Green, Aaron Green's wife Kim and Kim's oldest daughter, Abby, Dennis McNeal, Terry Thein and myself raised the new flags to their prominent place of display throughout the town," she said.  

The older worn-out flags will be properly disposed of and those that can be used again are folded and stored away at the Guttenberg Municipal Building. 

The Rotary would like to thank those individuals and groups who helped raise and lower the flags throughout the years. "We would like to extend our thanks to the Boy Scouts and their leaders, Susie and Steve Rausch and Bob Rodenberg and local residents Michelle and Travis Geuder for their years of service helping the Rotary Club display the community's flags,"  Waterman said. 

If you would like to become a member of the Guttenberg Rotary Club, or would like to assist with the placement and removal of the flags you may contact any Rotary member.

The Rotary meets every Thursday at the Stadium Bar and Grill during the lunch hour from 12 noon - 1 p.m. Waterman shared, "Anyone can become a Rotary member. It's a great way to become involved in your community!"

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