• Pole, inscription being installed at rec center

• Legion, VFW, DAV involved

• Ceremonies on tap in coming weeks

Visitors to the Community Recreation Center may have been wondering: Where is the flagpole?

Wonder no more.

Through a partnership with veterans service organizations, the Montrose Recreation District is on schedule to install a 30-foot flagpole, with inscription, sometime next month. A formal dedication with 21-gun salute is planned when the flag is raised, as is an official ceremony for Veterans Day.

“It was something we were looking into right away when the rec center was being designed, but unfortunately, when you are trying to stay on budget, some non-program (items) get cut and that was one of them,” MRD board member Mark Plantz said Monday. “We just weren’t able to do it right away.”

The Montrose chapters of the Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars are contributing about $500 apiece to the efforts, VFW Cmdr. Whit Bailey said.

“I think it’s awesome. A lot of the veterans, and ladies at the pool, (were saying) ‘Where’s the flagpole, where’s the flagpole?’ Everyone starting putting in the suggestion box for a flagpole and now it’s going to happen,” Bailey said.

Representatives for the other veterans organizations also support the flagpole installation.

“As a community building with so many people, it’s important to have representation,” said Angie Douthit, local DAV commander. “The rec center is doing its own dedication to the veterans and we greatly appreciate their involvement and wanting to support the community veterans.”

Her counterpart with the American Legion, Randy Leonard, indicated agreement.

“It’s a community effort and we’re doing it with the VFW and DAV. That’s our main goal here in Montrose, to help out the community and to help out veterans,” Leonard said.

The flagpole is to be situated in the median near the rec center’s entrance. The flag-raising ceremony and the Veterans Day dedication are community events, Plantz said.

“We feel like we owe a debt of gratitude to the veterans, especially the veterans who gave their lives so we can live in freedom,” Plantz said.

Details about the ceremonies are to be arranged.

People can inquire about making donations by calling Ken Sherbenou, MRD executive director, at 970-249-7705.

“We love that American flag and every place in town ought to have one hanging somewhere,” Bailey said. “I think it’s great. They (MRD) are all about it.”

Katharhynn Heidelberg is an award-winning journalist and the senior writer for the Montrose Daily Press. Follow her on Twitter at @kathMDP.

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