A group of about 15 veterans has made every day Flag Day in the village.
Thanks to the efforts of Navy veteran Rick Otey of Tremont and the other vets, nine American flags and five military flags representing each branch of the U.S. military were placed Friday. They’re located across from light poles on a walking path along the Tiber Creek, off Illinois Route 9 near Tremont City Park.
The path is part of a Tremont Winning Communities project completed in 2009 that converted a former drainage ditch into a meandering creek with bridges connecting the path.
Former Marine R.D. Flannigan, 97, of Tremont helped place the Marines flag Friday. Air Force veteran Gene Neeley, 92, of Tremont did the same for the Air Force flag and Tremont Mayor Todd Bong, an Army veteran, helped place the Army flag.
Capt. Nate Troyer from the Tremont Police Department helped place a U.S. flag.
“We talked to the Village Board about our project at the board’s meeting Aug. 7, and they voted unanimously for it,” Otey said. “That Friday, we were drilling holes for the flags.”
The idea for the flags, Otey said, came from the 2,300 U.S. flags provided by Larry “Flag Man” Eckhardt of Little York that lined area roads during a funeral procession in August 2015 for Tazewell County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Whisenand of Tremont.
Whisenand was killed in a single-car accident on Springfield and Tomm roads on his way to a domestic disturbance call in rural Armington.
Roads lined with about 800 U.S. flags honored Whisenand last year on the one-year anniversary of his death.
Otey, one of the volunteers who put up and took down the flags both years, said he heard from many Tremont residents how much they liked seeing the flags, so he talked with other veterans about finding a permanent spot for flags in Tremont and they jumped on board.
The nine flags on the north side of the Tiber Creek walking path will come down once a year, Otey said, during the Tremont Turkey Festival, which is held mostly in Tremont City Park.
Otey said Kimpling Ace Hardware in Washington “is saving us a lot of money on poles and flags.”
Donations are being accepted for the flag project. Send checks to Tremont Winning Communities, P.O. Box 76, Tremont, IL 61568. Put “Flag project” in the memo line.