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Placing flags along street is a family affair
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Patriotism comes easy for Debbee Tarr and her family when its time to put out flags. - photo by GLENN KAHL

The Tarr family is never too busy to step up to the plate to demonstrate their patriotism for their country by helping place and later retrieveing nearly 200 American Flags along Manteca streets.

They work under the leadership of Les Thomas who has been the veteran serving as the organizational spark plug for the Manteca Chamber of Comemrce’s  effort to place 2,400 flags along streets for the past  12 years.

The Tarrs are all involved to some degree in their Grocery Outlet Market with mom, Debbee Tarr, heading up the Kiwanis Club team that sets out one section of Flags on Yosemite Avenue and on Main Street .

Tarr said her sons Joey, 19, and Jake, 16, usually wake her and her husband Jake up at 4 a.m. to get ready to head down to the main intersection where they pick up their flags. They place them from the railroad tracks on Yosemite to the west and to Lincoln Avenue on the east.  On Main Street they are assigned again from the railroad tracks on the south to Center Street on the north.

Both boys and their 23-year-old daughter work in the market in various capacities.

“Personally I have been doing flags for three years, chairperson for the last two,” she said.  It is really amazing to see all the kids out there in the mornings including the Boy Scouts and Youth Focus.  We could use more service groups to help,” she said. “There have been a number of them who have had to step out of the program.”

Among all the service clubs participating, Kiwanis has some six members on the street in the mornings and a different six in the late afternoons.

Joey is a student at Modesto Junior College and works two jobs – one at the grocery store as produce manager and the other at Game Stop on Yosemite Avenue.  It’s not easy for him to schedule his time away from work as he gets his deliveries starting at 6 a.m.   That’s when he receives truckloads of eggs and milk.  Jake is a junior at Sierra High School.

Tarr said there have been many motorists driving by shouting “thank you” out their car windows.  She also noted that she has seen people stop and pick up any flag that has fallen into the street and place it back in its hole in the concrete.

The flags will be out again on Monday for Presidents’ Day barring any rain in the forecast.