PAXTON, Ill. (WCIA) — Paxton Fire Chief Denny Kingren says he’s hopes to have the Grand Old Flag hoisted up by Memorial Day — whether or not COVID is still around.
He says he doesn’t know what the virus will be doing by Memorial Day, and the flag committee has already twice delayed the dedication ceremony because of the pandemic.
“It depends on what the school wants to do,” he says. “If we can, we still plan to have the ceremony and parade coming from firehouse and we’ll walk the flag to the site. Even if we have to cut the ceremony short, or just hang up the flag, we’ll do it by Memorial Day.”
Kingren says over $60,000 has been raised towards installing the large flag on a 150-foot tall pole that now stands at the Paxton High school. He adds he hadn’t anticipated needing to have the flag changed out every three months so it can be mended for wear and tear.
So the total cost of the project, after ordering around six or eight flags that are each 1,800 square-feet in size, will reach about $80,000.
The chief says the town of Princeton, Ill. was able to install four flag poles off of I-80 at a cost of around $320,000. While still in the early planning stages, Kingren had said if Paxton could raise just 20% of that amount, they could put one big flag up without it being a burden on taxpayers.
Kingren says he and his nephew came up with the idea for the project during snowmobiling trips to Wisconsin and Michigan. He says “you wouldn’t believe how many they have there.”
“Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing in Paxton,” he and his nephew had asked each other.
“It’s just going to be remarkable. It’s going to make people say, ‘hey, Paxton is the little community where the big flag flies behind the high school. It will make kids realize what it means.”
Kingren also says the Paxton Fire Department has helped a lot with the project.
He adds people can order an engraved brick online as part of their fundraiser. Kingren the proceeds will also cover future maintenance costs.
Click on the link below for more information on how you can order your engraved brick online.