A Jacksonville business owner is expanding his holiday observance and gratitude for veterans this year, starting on Memorial Day.
Tim Birdsell, President of Central Illinois Dish Pro on Mound Avenue invited any U.S. military veteran or active duty service member to stop by the store on Labor Day last year for a free flag of their choosing.
Birdsell says this year he will be offering free flags multiple times after a great response last year.
“It was kind of late in the year last year when we though about doing something, so we were able to do it for Labor Day and had a real nice response of active duty and veterans showing up for their free flag.
So I decided after that event, this year and for the years going forward, we will be doing the three different events where we will be giving the flags away. I was overwhelmed the the amount of people that came in, I thought it was awesome that they came in to get their free flag.
Any time we can show our support for the first responders and veterans and active military, we are more than thankful to be able to do something for them, just to be able to show a little gratitude for all they have sacrificed and have done for us.”
Birdsell will be giving away embroidered three foot by five foot U.S. flags this year to veterans and active duty service members on Memorial Day, and Labor Day, and on September 11th he will give free flags specifically to first responders.
Birdsell says he will also be holding a drawing at each of the events for a chance to win a flag pole. He says there is no purchase necessary to get a flag or get into the drawing, for the flag poles.
“It’s a real nice flag pole, and anybody that has driven by our place of business there where the old Mound Cone Shop used to be, if they look at the flag pole just to the east of our building there, it’s the same flag pole that I will be giving away at all three events. And whoever the winner is, if they live within a 25 mile radius, I’ll be more than happy to install the flag pole for them”
Birdell says the flag poles are telescoping poles so the user does not have to contend with a rope to raise and lower their flag.
He says he hopes to see a good turn out again on Memorial Day.
“It would be our honor for anyone that is active military or veterans to come in and get their free flag, and hopefully we have as good a turn out as what we had last year for Labor Day because that was an awesome turn out.
So again, any active duty military or veterans, make sure they stop by on the 25th, and if somebody is going to be able to get by but won’t be able to make it by 7:00 pm, if they just want to reach out to me by phone, they can get a hold of me at 217-479-DISH, that’s 479-3474.
And if I need to stick around a little bit later for those service people, I’ll be more than happy to do that to make sure they are able to stop by and get their flag.”
Flags will be available at Central Illinois Dish Pro at 1632 Mound Avenue from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, on Memorial Day this upcoming Monday.