Morning Optimists kick off flag display effort

Count on the Morning Optimist Club of Marshalltown to keep Old Glory flying.

The local civic group is anxious to see Marshalltown awash in red, white and blue especially on major holidays, so it is again promoting the popular flag display program.

The club will install a flag socket on a terrace for $35, according to Ray Helland of the club.

For flag installation, the club hires a youth group, such as the Central Iowa Sea Cadets or a Boy Scout troop, to insert a flag in the receptacle at sunrise on Memorial Day, Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Veterans Day.

The flags are removed by a youth organization at sunset, and stored and maintained by the club until the next holiday.

“We would like people to respond by Feb. 20,” said Ray Helland of the club. “The date is particularly important, especially for new participants, because it gives us time to arrange for the Call One program to locate utilities prior to inserting the socket.”

Helland said the local flag display idea was developed by the club in 2003, and the city council granted approval in 2004.

Marshalltown residents began signing up in 2005, and that year 100 flag sockets were installed.

Helland said approximately 472 flags are now on display during the five holidays.

Proceeds from sales are directed toward youth programs in the Marshalltown area.

To sign up contact Helland at 641-753-6717.

Optimist International is an association of more than 2,600 Optimist Clubs around the world dedicated to “Bringing Out the Best in Kids.”