Flag fundraiser a trademark Rotarian project | CraigDailyPress.com

Flag fundraiser a trademark Rotarian project

Bridget Manley

What began as an Eagle Scout project for a local youth has become a visible stamp of one local group’s activity in Craig.

At sunrise on certain holidays, Craig Rotary Club members head out at daybreak to line parcels of Victory Way and Yampa Avenue with American flags. Then, at the day’s end, they go out again – this time, to collect the flags until they are next needed.

It’s hard work, but Randy Looper, Craig Rotary Club treasurer, thinks it’s worth it.

“It’s fun,” he said. “You get up, you talk to people. It’s just a good thing for the group to do.”

Lincoln Cleverly, a local Boy Scout, began the tradition of placing American flags in front of local businesses as part of his Eagle Scout project. After Cleverly graduated from high school, however, it seemed as though the ritual, which took place on patriotic holidays, would end.

Looper, however, noticed the tradition when he first moved to town and didn’t want it to end.

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“I thought it was a really neat thing to do,” he said.

So, he took the idea to the Craig Rotary Club board, which spearheaded the effort to line Craig’s two main thoroughfares with flags seven days a year.

The project debuted Memorial Day 2007 and has since adorned Yampa Avenue and Victory Way during spring, summer and fall holidays, including Labor Day weekend.

The Rotary Club also has placed the flags for special occasions, including this year’s AirFest and the arrival of The Moving Wall in August 2007.

Since then, it has benefited the Craig Rotary Club in two ways.

First, it acts as a fundraiser for other Rotarian community service projects. For $75 each, local individuals or businesses can have an American flag placed in their names.

Second, the project gives the Rotary Club a visual presence in the community.

Some Rotary projects take place away from the public eye, Looper said.

Not this one.

“This is very visual,” Looper said. “Now, I think people tie it in with us. Originally, I’m not sure people knew who were doing it.”

The Craig Rotary Club doesn’t seem to be the only group pleased with the project. Looper has received positive feedback from residents since Rotarians began the flag placings last year.

“They love it,” he said.

Rotarians place 129 flags along two main swaths: the west- and eastbound lanes of Victory Way from Lincoln to Ranney streets and the two-block stretch of Yampa Avenue from Fourth to Sixth streets.

Ultimately, Looper said he’d like to see the Victory Way route extended to Craig’s western end, near the Wal-Mart entrance.

Getting there means placing between 200 and 300 flags. Looper has no timeframe for when that hope becomes a reality.

“I don’t know how long that will take us,” he said.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com.