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Chamber seeks help to clean 2,500 flags
Over the years hundreds of people have stepped up to the plate to place flags along Manteca streets. St. Pauls Church volunteer Didra Resse carried a flag for placement in 2009. - photo by HIME ROMERO

The Manteca Chamber of Commerce along with a small army of volunteers have helped line Manteca’s streets with 2,500 flags at least 10 times a year since 2002 to mark major holidays.

Some of the flags have been torn and poles broken and need to be replace. Virtually all other flags are in need of dry cleaning.

The chamber has launched an effort to make sure the Flags Over Manteca endeavor will keep every Old Glory in top shape.

They are seeking sponsors to help either clean flags or replace the ones that need it.

While any size donation is accepted, chamber staff notes that a $25 sponsorship will cover the dry cleaning of seven flags. A $100 sponsorship will pay for cleaning 30 flags or to replace poles and torn flags as needed.

A $500 sponsorship covers the cost of cleaning 150 flags or to replace poles and torn flags.

The Chamber of Commerce project was born in the terrorist attacks of 9-11 but it was also designed to acknowledge the 850,000 who have died in all of America’s wars, the millions more who served, the civilians who made a difference for all of us such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and those who have built this country.

The flag effort was the brainchild of Joe Pellegrino.

Pellegrino served two tours in Vietnam. His military career also included an assignment with the Strategic Air Command. Pellegrino traveled with Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter as well as the Secretary of Defense and others. He was one of the officers assigned to be cuffed to a briefcase carrying the nuclear launch codes.

Pellegrino, after retirement, served as executive director for the Manteca Chamber of Commerce. He was mulling over the flag project when 9-11 happened.

Once the chamber board blessed it, it took just two months to raise the $60,000 to buy the flags and poles. The city kicked in $40,000 to bore the holes in sidewalks for the placement of the 2,500 flags. Individuals John Perez and Dan Luna stepped up to prepare the poles while Mountain Valley Express donated a trailer for storage.

If you are interested in helping with replacing flags or helping to have them cleaned, contact the chamber at 823.6121.