Soldier holds flag after pole knocked down

Soldier holding flag at Wingate in Wilbraham (photo by Laura Hendrickson)

WILBRAHAM, Mass. (WWLP) – The flagpole outside Wingate of Wilbraham was knocked down over the winter, but the assisted living and rehab facility is not without a patriotic display this Memorial Day.

Army Specialist Darren Swallow took it upon himself to stand outside the facility holding a flag as a tribute to those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice. The veteran, who is disabled following multiple tours in Iraq, told 22News that he arrived at Wingate at around 3:30 A.M., and plans to stay there holding the flag until 1:00 P.M.

Swallow said, “My girlfriend told me yesterday the flagpole behind us was taken down either during a storm or from a plow truck, so I thought I’d come down and honor our veterans, and let them know they have not been forgotten.”

Anara Dupont, Swallow’s girlfriend, said, “He was very passionate about it when I told him we didn’t have a flag here, he is an angel, he is, he really is one of the best people I’ve ever met in my whole life.”

Swallow’s gesture honoring other veterans meant so much to Wingate employee Susan Huart, whose two children and a son-in-law are all in the service. “Pride. I mean it’s a feel good story, he’s celebrating the veterans because we didn’t have a flagpole, and he came to celebrate the veterans everywhere.”

To others, this gesture was inspirational, a moment in time to show their children. “Absolutely inspired, we came here just to thank him for his service. It’s phenomenal that he’s standing out here for the residents and for our country,” said Chris White of Monson.

Observed since 1868, Memorial Day honors all Americans who died in military service to our country.

“Soldier holding flag at Wingate in Wilbraham entered the nursing home and went room to room shaking hands with residents that are Vets. Attached is a photo of my 85-year-old father. A Korean War Vet. Paul King Sr. My father sincerely appreciated the visit. My father was tearful when heard what the soldier was doing and was even more tearful when the soldier came to his room for a visit. God bless America!” (Laura Hendrickson)
“Soldier holding flag at Wingate in Wilbraham entered the nursing home and went room to room shaking hands with residents that are Vets. Attached is a photo of my 85 year old father. A Korean War Vet. Paul King Sr. My father sincerely appreciated the visit. My father was tearful when heard what the soldier was doing and was even more tearful when the soldier came to his room for a visit. God bless America!” (Laura Hendrickson)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s