Dave Gardner, a veteran of the Korean war and long-time Marco Island resident, removes flags from a receptacle at Veteran’s Community Park. “I remove the flags once a week in season and about every 10 days or so out of season.” This particular day the box is filled with flags, so much so the last flag didn’t drop down into the receptacle, but rather sat on top of the drawer.
There were over 50 flags in this box located at Veteran’s Community Park, another box is located at City Hall. From large flags torn and worn, to a nylon flag still in its wrapper, even a large Rebel flag, there were all sorts and sizes coming out of the box. When asked what the proper etiquette was for disposing of the flag, Dave said there are two things that can be done. Burning is the preferred method, or burying.
The VFW post offers flags for sale. There are brochures available on the side of each box. “It only takes a few days to get a flag in and we don’t charge shipping or sales tax. Then we personally deliver the flag. These flags are sewn, not printed, and they are American-made of quality materials, the proceeds go to support our local vets. We sell an average of five flags a week. We’d like to urge everyone to buy flags from us.”
Most proceeds go to local vets who need financial assistance. “One fellow in Lehigh Acres went off to Iraq. His home was in disrepair. People broke out his windows and stole everything, even his appliances. Of course he couldn’t get home to take care of it. Area veteran’s posts came in and rebuilt it for him! People need to be wary of some of these guys with five gallon buckets on the street saying they’re collecting for vets. Many of them have nothing to do with vet’s organizations. They don’t have a military uniform. We have no idea where some of that money goes. They’re not licensed. One comes here all the time, and when asked, he responded he was from Bonita Springs, yet he wasn’t familiar with the area project to repair this fellow’s home who went to Iraq. Many of the people behind some of these organizations become millionaires,” Dave said, “I know a couple of them.”
“Our local VFW post has approximately 70 members. The post is treated as a military establishment with post commander, a deputy or vice-commander, a chaplain, a ‘surgeon’ whose job it is to keep track of the health of the members, a service officer who helps all the vets in the area, not just our members. There is a quartermaster who handles the finances. Our judge advocate is Bedford Biles because he was an attorney. He’s not quite as active now because his knees are bothering him. He jumped out of a plane during the Normandy invasion. We have many great members who went through quite a lot. Our post is run like a military organization.”
Watch upcoming issues of Coastal Breeze News to feature our local Veterans.
For proper FLAG Etiquette go to coastalbreezenews.com.
SALUTE TO OUR VETERANS!
- David Gardner
- Military Branch: Army
- Years of Service: 1950-1954
- Rank: Sergeant First-Class
- I was a medic in Korea and proud to serve and glad to return.
Dave is of Indian decent, born and raised on Cape Cod, Massachusets. As a child during the depression, his family fished and grew vegetables. We’d gather ‘quahogs’ which is an Indian name for a hard shell clam and fry them.
We’d fish for red bass, flounder, ‘tutthog,’ another Indian-named fish, and herring. We’d would take roe out of the herring and make a meal out of that. Then my dad would bury three herring under each little hill of vegetables and that became the fertilizer.
He worked two full-time jobs after the military. He was a police officer for eight hours a day and the next eight hours he worked to build his own business starting with a sheet metal shop. Dave said he spent one day per week catching up on much needed sleep and his next free day was spent having quality family time. This small business eventually grew into a multi-million dollar construction company working with government contracts in the New England area.
Dave is presently active in a number of Marco Island organizations including the Veteran’s Memorial committee working with the City of Marco Island Parks and Recreation in finalizing plans for a memorial to be built at Veteran’s Community Park.
If you know a local veteran who would like to be featured here, contact Coastal Breeze News.