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New U.S. flag donated for Alpena boat harbor

News Photo by Crystal Nelson Brandon Hawley of Dependable Lawn Care and Property Services helps City of Alpena Mayor Matt Waligora hold the boat harbor’s newest flag while in front of the flagpole on Friday at the harbor.

ALPENA–A local businessman, who wanted to give back to his community, has made a generous donation to the city.

Brandon Hawley, who owns Dependable Lawn Care and Property Service, purchased one of the oversized American flags that fly over the small boat harbor, as a way to express his appreciation for the support he has received.

The flag, which is 30 feet tall by 50 feet wide, will be the first new flag the city has in its inventory since 2018, Alpena Mayor Matt Waligora said.

Hawley presented the new flag to Waligora at the harbor on Friday. Waligora said when people step up and make donations, it helps to make the city a better place, because often the city isn’t able to spend the money to do that on its own.

“This is a great example of how improvements are made in Alpena when our budget is tight,” Waligora said. “I really appreciate his contribution.”

Hawley said his family typically donates to local organizations each year, but for 2021, he decided he wanted to give a gift for everyone who lives in or visits the city.

“It was my way of giving back to the community for everything it has done for me, my family, and my business,” he said. “I just thought the flag would be something everyone would enjoy.”

The flags are not displayed during the winter because they get battered by the snow, ice, and high winds that often come off of Lake Huron.

Those elements take a toll on the flags’ fabric, which leads to mending repairs to extend their life. After being mended several times they are shortened and look different, at which time the city usually retires and replaces it.

The flags are easily seen from more than a mile away down Chisholm Street. Boaters can also see the flag from miles out on Lake Huron.

Hawley understands there are some who aren’t patriotic and don’t look favorably upon the flag. He said maybe when the flag is hanging and its red, white, and blue colors are waving in the wind, people’s opinions will change.

“Even in Alpena I see sides being taken on everything, and I just really wish we could get back to when everybody got along,” he said. “We are all one Alpena.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.

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