New flag flies over Hood River

Traffic noise could not dilute the spirit of a flag dedication at one of Hood River's busiest corners Nov. 7.

About 60 people gathered at 12th and May streets as a new American flag was raised, replacing the huge banner that was stolen from the site in mid-September.

Cubmaster Mitch Hicks said 11-year-old Scout Jesse Schull "took the leadership" in Pack 798's efforts to raise $500 to buy a new flag. Police are still investigating the theft, which came at a time when national spirits were still reeling from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"It was a visual and proud symbol of our country and our community," Hicks said. "Jesse was able to accomplish this and we want to congratulate him."

Jesse said he approached many downtown businesses and raised more than $200 in just a few hours. His pack also helped raise funds.

"It was kind of hard work, but it was worth it," said Jesse, a fifth-grader at May Street Elementary. Jesse also gave some of his own savings to the project.

Mayor Paul Cummings attended Wednesday's service, along with police chief Tony Dirks and other members of his department, and numerous representatives of Providence Columbia Gorge Health Services staff. The flag was taken from Providence property.

"We are very proud to see that flag flying," Jim Clair told Jesse during the ceremony. Clair is chairman of the Providence Hood River board of directors.

Engine noise and the wind interrupted Hicks and other speakers at times, and when it came time to unfurl the flag it burst open in a gust of wind. The Scouts grabbed it to keep it from grazing the ground.

When the banner made it to the top, the pack led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance. Accompany Schull were Aaron Halbert, Jake Gross, Joel Viramontes, Hector Marquez, Ryan Lowe, Zev Braun, Calvin Alexander, Charles Dannon and Lawrence Dannon.

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