Marion County 'Patriot Memorial Flag' campaign moving foward
While Marion County is celebrating the Fourth of July holiday, a local veterans' group and a non-profit charity are moving forward with plans to erect a giant American flag on the tallest flagpole in the area as part of the Korean War Memorial, being built at the East Marion County Park in Fairmont.
Contributions are still needed to purchase and erect the 30-by-50-foot Marion County Patriot Memorial Flag that will fly atop a 125-foot flagpole overlooking Interstate 79, where it will be visible for miles in any direction, according to Rick Hardman, designer of the project sponsored by Marion County Chapter 163 of the Korean War Veterans Association.
"This flag will be a symbol of local pride and patriotism that people will be able to see, night and day, for many, many years to come," Hardman said. "The presence of this large flag flying a total of 170 feet above the I-79 corridor will be an awesome site for those traveling north and south through our region.
"We hope that individuals, organizations and businesses in the area will continue to contribute to this project, which will be a great thing for Marion County and the entire state of West Virginia," he said.
The project began last year with the construction of a concrete foundation for the massive flagpole with funds provided by the Korean War Veterans Memorial Fund. Additional money is needed to pay for fabrication and installation of the flagpole and floodlights to illuminate it, at an estimated cost of $30,000; and a $50,000 endowment fund to provide for the perpetual purchase and replacement of flags whenever necessary.
The endowment fund is managed by Your Community Foundation (YCF), a non-profit regional philanthropic organization that is collecting contributions and investing the funds to increase their value. Net income from those investments will be used to purchase the flags, which will need to be replaced about twice a year.
The Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission will provide care and maintenance of the flags and pole. Hardman suggested that when flags are replaced, they could be raffled off to the public or donated to a school, charity or fire department with any proceeds added to the flag endowment.
Hardman, a Vietnam veteran, said he was inspired last year by the story of two men who were traveling the country flying a large "Patriot Flag" in all 50 states and ending their trip at the 911 memorial site in New York. "I decided to use the 'patriot' name after reading their story and talking with them," he said. "This is a way for us to continually show our own patriotism, so we named our project the Marion County Patriot Memorial Flag."
Tax-deductible contributions in any amount should be made to the Patriot Memorial Flag Fund in care of YCF, P.O. Box 409, Morgantown, WV 26507. Donors can make memorial contributions to honor an individual at the gold level ($1,000), silver level ($500) or bronze level ($100). Those donations will be recognized on a plaque to be placed on the concrete base of the flag.
YCF is a charitable, non-profit organization created in 2011 by the merger of the Greater Morgantown Community Trust and the Community Foundation of North Central West Virginia. It encourages, develops and manages endowment funds and uses the net proceeds to support a long list of community programs and scholarships. The merged foundation manages assets and pledged assets of approximately $7 million and administers more than 140 separate funds.
Information about YCF and a description of its endowment funds is available at www.ycfwv.org or by calling (304) 296-3433.