The community turned out at Walland Elementary School on Monday, Feb. 21, to celebrate a new flagpole on the school campus.
Principal Phyllis Garner said it was good for the school to have a new flagpole after the old one just wouldn’t do the job anymore. “It was bent and then the rope tore up,” Garner said.
School Resource Officer Ross Jamerson spearheaded the effort to replace the flagpole, and he said he appreciated the community turning out to dedicate the new flagpole.
“It was great, and we were glad to see folks show up. Everyone who had anything to do with it was from this community,” he said. “People from Blount County came together and helped us out. Our flagpole was in terrible shape, and so many people were willing to help.”
Jamerson said he had been talking about trying to get another flagpole with Garner and a mother of one of the students suggested he speak with her father-in-law, District 8-B Blount County Commissioner Gordon Wright Sr. “I spoke to him, and he just kind of took the lead and asked if I could get the flagpole down. He took it to Stinnett’s Welding Shop,” said Jamerson. “They donated the material and time, and Ellis McGaha and Joe Tipton also helped with the project.”
State Sen. Doug Overbey and State Rep. Art Swann were on hand at the Feb. 21 event and donated U.S. and Tennessee state flags to fly on the new pole.
Commissioner Roy Gamble came and the Heritage High School ROTC did a flag presentation and stayed afterwards to show the fifth grade students how to raise and lower the flag every morning and afternoon.
Jamerson said it meant a lot to see the new flagpole in place. “I wasn’t proud to see the flag up a bent pole. I felt our community stood for something better than that,” he said. “I have buddies going to Afghanistan and Iraq fighting, and I’m putting their flag on a bent pole. It didn’t sit right with me.”