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Volunteers sought for Flags Over Manteca effort

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Volunteers sought for Flags Over Manteca effort

Les Thomas has faithfully supervised the loading and unloading of flags since the beginning of Flags Over Manteca.

Bulletin file photo/

POSTED February 9, 2009 4:17 a.m.
Manteca’s most visible salute to those who built and served America – presidents, labor, and soldiers – starts its seventh year on Feb. 16.
That’s when the Manteca Chamber of Chamber of Commerce marks Presidents’ Day with the Flags over Manteca effort.
The chamber places 2,400 American flags along Manteca streets donated by the community. They have been criticized by some for not always putting up all 2,400 flags, but as chamber chief executive officer Debby Moorhead noted that is because they often don’t have adequate volunteer manpower to do the job.
“If someone wants to help but only can put up and take down 10 flags, that will go a long way,” Moorhead said.
The chamber is working at lining up volunteers for the Monday, Feb. 16, holiday. It requires people to show up at 6 a.m. and place flags along predetermined sections of Main Street, Yosemite Avenue, Center Street, Union Road, and Louise Avenue. The volunteers then take the flags down after 3 p.m.
Moorhead noted that the chamber determines whether to put out flags based on a five day forecast.
“If there is any chance of rain, we don’t put them out,” Moorhead said.
Moisture on the flags would trigger mildew after they are put away causing damage to the $60,000 community investment.
Moorhead said the chamber needs to line up volunteers this week. In the event of cancellation, contact people for various groups, families, or businesses will be notified in advance.
The 2,400 flags are displayed along Manteca streets seven times a year — Veterans Day, Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Presidents Day and Sept. 11.
They also have gone out on solemn occasions such as when Manteca mourned the death of Manteca High graduate and Marine Cpl. Charles Palmer in Iraq and in times of celebration such as when Manteca hosted a homecoming for a national guard unit returning from a year’s tour of duty in Iraq .
It doesn’t require an organized group to volunteer. Some families — such as Bev Marlow, her daughters and grandkids — have made it a family affair.
The flag effort was started in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.
The chamber is also trying to expand locations where it can place flags.
The chamber is raising funds by various sponsorship levels that include Stars & Stripes Sponsor for $2,525 and up, Old Glory Sponsor for $1,275 to $2,500, Red, White & Blue Sponsor for $625 to $1,250, Patriot Sponsor for $100 to $600 and Freedom Sponsor for $25 to $75.
If you are interested in volunteering or helping to fund flags, contact the chamber at 823-6121.
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