A new super-sized American flag is on its way to a local auto dealership after the Clovis Veterans Memorial District board agreed Thursday night to replace the 38-foot by 20-foot flag stolen Monday.
District manager Bruce Thiesen said the flag was ordered Friday morning and may take just over two weeks to arrive.
"I hope it arrives before Memorial Day," Thiesen said.
A special order has to be made for a flag that size. "And this is a bad time to order flags because everybody's ordering them," he said, in preparation for the May 31 holiday honoring American war veterans.
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Former Fresno County Supervisor Bob Waterston confirmed Friday that he will reimburse the Memorial District for the giant flag, estimated to cost $750.
"I'm really upset about this. To steal a flag ...," said Waterston, who has sons in the Marines and Air Force. "You can't touch the flag."
Brett Hedrick, general manager of Hedrick's Chevrolet, said Thiesen called him Friday with the news.
"I think it's great. I actually had two other offers to buy a new flag this morning," he said.
Jammie Wilson, 40, of Fresno, said he offered the flag given to him when his father, a World War II Army veteran, died in 1983.
"It's a tradition to see it when you drive by. It's un-American not to see it flying," said Wilson, who volunteered to raise the flag every morning and take it down at night, because of its sentimental value.
But Hedrick had to decline the man's offer since the flag would be too small to hang from the cellular tower that doubles as the dealership's flag pole.
Since the new flag is being paid for by Waterston, Hedrick said, he is working with the Memorial District to earmark the $725 donated by businesses, individuals and veterans to honor or help veterans.
The United Local Credit Union gave $400, the American Legion Post 509 has promised $200, a local businessman gave $100, a customer brought in a $20 bill and a 2-year-old girl gave five wadded-up $1 bills.
After the flag arrives, a ceremony will be held to raise the new flag, Thiesen and Hedrick said.