HR event honors flag, those who served


News staff writer

May 31, 2006

The keynote speaker at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony equated respect for the flag with respect for the principles upon which America was founded.

Retired Army Command Sgt. Gerald Schleining said respect for the flag paid tribute to the soldiers, sailors and Marines who had fought and died under the red, white and blue banner.

“The flag is often the rallying point for our losses, our ideals and our sacrifices. We should all serve as advocates for our veterans and support and protect our national colors,” said Schleining.

The message delivered by the Oregon Veteran Service Officer for the American Legion fit the setting. Hundreds of flags of all sizes flapped in a stiff breeze across the landscape of Idlewild Cemetery on the morning of May 29.

Schleining gave a true-life story to underscore the importance of his words. He spoke of 5-year-old Hunter Youngblood, who lost his father, Travis, last year to a roadside bomb in Iraq.

The child had always been taught to respect the flag even though he wasn’t old enough to grasp the concept of liberty, said Schleining.

So, it became a source of confusion for Hunter to view media reports of people burning or destroying the banner. It was especially troubling to the young boy because seeing a flag brought both he and his mother, Laura, comfort.

“When my husband died they gave me the American flag in his place. Every time I see the flag being raised now I feel that he is near,” she had told Schleining.

To Hunter, each glimpse of a flag reinforces his belief that “Daddy is a hero and an angel.”

Hood River Mayor Linda Streich recounted one of her own childhood memories. She spoke of the military service of her late father, Charles “Pete” Fisk, a Marine.

Although Streich lost her father at a young age, his uniform was kept neatly folded in the hall closet. She remembered trying on the “cover” and gazing at the brass and insignias sewn on the lapels.

“But what really caught this child’s fancy was the medal that was pinned across the chest of the uniform. That medal read ‘Expert Rifleman’ and was proof to me that he was a hero,” she said.

Rev. Don Howell and his son, Army Private First Class Nolan Howell both played a role in the ceremony. The elder Howell, pastor of Cascade Assembly of God Church in Cascade Locks, prayed that God would protect members of the armed forces.

His son, a medic recently injured while on active duty in Iraq, expressed gratitude for being healed from his wounds.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for his hand of protection on my life,” he said. “I also pray for my fellow soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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