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25,000 Flags Over Manteca?

Chamber appealing to community to take project to ‘next level’

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25,000 Flags Over Manteca?

Gabby Martinez of the Dance Stars was one of the volunteers who helped place flags along Manteca streets on the Fourth of July.


POSTED July 28, 2009 1:17 a.m.

Come Memorial Day nothing would please the Manteca Chamber of Commerce more than to see their 2,400 flags augmented by 22,600 flags citywide.

“We want to take the flag project to the next level,” said Manteca Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Debby Moorhead.
That next step involves encouraging every resident to acquire a flag and place it out on the same eight days each year that the chamber volunteers put the 2,400 flags up and down main corridors as part of the Flags Over Manteca effort.

Moorhead said the chamber is planning to team up with other groups including Pastor Mike Dillman’s Memorial Day Weekend effort as well as veterans’ organizations in a bid to give Manteca the reputation “as the most patriotic city in America.”

One way of potentially making that happen would be working with Neighborhood Watch groups to enlist residents to place flags out on the same days the chamber does – Sept. 11, Veterans Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.
“Ideally, the Neighborhood Watch captains would contact neighbors in their group to remind them to place the flags out each time,” Moorhead said.

The chamber may also work out a deal to buy flags in bulk and resell them to those who do not have them.

Moorhead said what is inspiring the chamber is the feedback they get from people who say they drive to Manteca - mostly from cities in the greater Northern San Joaquin Valley – to view the flags when they are put in place.

Moorhead said she always goes back to what she was once told by David Coates to re-enforce how important the flag project is to a lot of people.
“He (Coates) and his wife were living in an apartment after moving to Manteca from Morgan Hill while waiting for their house to be built,” Moorhead said. “They were going out to breakfast when they saw all of the flags up and down the streets. He said he turned to his wife and told her that they had made the right choice moving here.”

Moorhead said other people have told her that they make a point when the flags are out to drive up and down the streets.

Her brothers – from San Jose, Las Vegas, and Sacramento – came to Manteca on the Fourth of July in 2008 and were surprised at what they saw.
“They rode up and down the streets real slowly and said they were impressed with how cohesive the community was in order to do this (the flag project),” Moorhead said.

The chamber launched their flag project with an idea from former executive director Joe Pellegrino in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The goal was to have 2,400 flags lining main streets by the first anniversary of the attacks.

The community stepped up and donated $60,000. Every time the flags are out, a small army of volunteers are responsible for putting them up and taking them down.

“These (the flags) are the flags of the people of Manteca,” Moorhead said.

If you would like to help the chamber expand its Flags Over Manteca effort, contact Moorhead at the chamber by calling 823-6121.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail

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