Photo by Matt Stensland
Hayden American Legion Post 89 members Larry Pederson, left, and Ron Nereson work Tuesday on the foundation for a new flagpole being placed at the Hayden High School football field.
Hayden It's been 60 years since the American flag has flown at the Hayden High School football field, and Ron Nereson was not about to let anything happen to the concrete meticulously poured and smoothed for a new flagpole Tuesday morning.
With a sack lunch and a thermos filled with coffee, Nereson, a Hayden American Legion Post 89 member, spent his afternoon watching the concrete dry.
"I think it's quite an honor that the school district has asked us to help reinforce patriotism (and) Americanism," said Nereson, who was working on the pole installation Tuesday with his brother Richard Watts and fellow Legion members Mike Flanders, Larry Pederson and Seth Huntington.
Hayden School District Superintendent Greg Rockhold contacted the Legion about erecting a new pole, which will be unveiled during a ceremony before the start of Friday's homecoming football game.
"It was voted upon that we would furnish the pole," Nereson said.
Local businesses have chipped in, as well. Northwest Ready Mix donated the cement for the 5-foot-deep foundation. Steamboat Lumber provided the rebar and form materials, Hayden Lumber gave supplies and the town dug the hole. Some Hayden students have pitched in, and Yampa Valley Electric Association is bringing a truck Thursday to raise the 40-foot pole, Nereson said.
"All we had to do was say the word, and we had a lot of people, time and labor to help us out," Nereson said.
All military veterans attending Friday's football game will be invited onto the field to join the Color Guard in a dedication ceremony. The mothers of those serving in a combat zone, as well as mothers who have lost a son in battle, also will take part in the ceremony, Nereson said.
The 6-foot by 10-foot flag that will be raised Friday night has been donated to the school by the family of Navy veteran Robert Dennis Letlow. The family received the government-issued flag when the 49-year-old died this past July in a work-related accident.