Organization Supporting Armed Services
An item on the live auction at the recent Palo Alto County Pheasants Forever Banquet has prompted a campaign to support local area members of the armed forces. Members of the Pheasants Forever Chapter in Palo Alto County and Palo Alto County Veterans Affairs Director Ron Hersom have joined together to send a “little piece of home” to those who are in service to our nation.
The effort began earlier this month when Gary and Sandy Leonard obtained a U.S. Flag from their son-in-law, Sergeant Major Craig Berte, who is married to their daughter Molly. Berte is currently posted at the Baghram Airfield in Afghanistan with the 734 Agri Business Development Team, the “Dirt Devils”, of the Iowa Army National Guard. Berte had the flag flown over Baghram Airfield in Afghanistan on February 16th, 2011.
Documentation provided with the flag stated: “So that all shall know, this flag was flown in the face of the enemy over the Regional Command East Battle Space on 16 February 2011. Illuminated in the dark by the light of justice, this symbol of freedom bears witness to the unbreakable spirit of the American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine. May it serve as an enduring reminder that freedom isn’t free, and that those who would seek to destroy our precious truths will not succeed.”
The flag and the certificate were placed in a commemorative case and placed on the Pheasants Forever auction on March 12. When the flag came up on the auction that night, Darrin Adams vowed he would bring the flag home and he did. When the bidding was concluded, it was announced that the funds raised on the sale of the flag would be used to mail “care-packages” to the eight Palo Alto County citizen soldiers who are currently deployed with the National Guard and serving in Afghanistan. The packages will contain simple items – playing cards, gum, hard candy, magazines and recent copies of The Reporter and The Democrat, to help keep the local soldiers in touch with their home town.
Just two days after the Pheasants Forever Banquet, Adams, the President of the organization, received another package in the mail a second U.S. Flag that was flown in the face of the enemy in Afghanistan. This U.S. Flag was sent to us by Emmetsburg native Scott Shirk, the son of Doug and Patty Shirk, and husband of Darcy Shirk of Emmetsburg. This flag will be presented to the Emmetsburg VFW by the Palo Alto County Pheasants Forever Chapter in honor of Shirk and the other defenders of freedom currently serving their country.
The flag purchased by Adams will be displayed at the Emmetsburg Police Department.
“I just knew the night of the banquet I had to buy that flag,” Adams admitted. “It was something I could do to show these people how grateful that I am along with my family and everyone from our community is for their service and their sacrifice. I am very proud to honor our military and support them by organizing this effort to ship them some comforts from home.”
The packages will be shipped out later this week by Pheasants Forever, according to Adams. “We want to say Thank You to all of our Heroes for your service! We hope all our HEROES return home soon!”