After 61 years, a flagpole for Station 3
Eagle Scout project aided by donations, volunteer workers
A Boy Scout with the Westside's Troop 3 needed an Eagle Scout project, and the result is Fire Station 3 getting its first-ever flagpole… not to mention fresh sod, repositioned sprinklers, shrubs, an 8-foot-diameter concrete base with stucco'd back wall and ownership of an American flag that flew over the nation's
A dedication ceremony at the station Sept. 24 honored Eagle Scout-to-be William R.G. Hamilton. Planning the project with his dad (William R. Hamilton, also Troop 3 assistant scoutmaster), firefighters, Scouting volunteers and the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), he raised more than $1,300 over 5 ½ months - including donations from numerous Westside businesses and individuals - to cover the costs. Then, several times in the month before the ceremony, the Hamiltons, off-duty firefighters, fellow Scouts and parents and supporters convened for workdays to prepare the site.
A contractor had estimated a $5,000 cost for the project last spring, but donations of skilled labor and supplies came forward, bringing the costs down considerably.
In his brief comments, the 15-year-old Palmer High School student thanked those who had helped him and said, “I hope this will inspire other Scouts to do projects in public places.”
Also speaking at the ceremony was City Battalion Fire Chief Troy Branham, who praised the Scout effort and described it as “a great day for all of us.” He also emphasized that no city money was used. “This is a great example of how organizations can work with the city to benefit the community all around.”
The location is a former grassy area in the left front of the station, beside the driveway for the engine bay doors.
Modern fire stations are typically built with flagpoles, but not when Station 3 went in at 922 W. Colorado Ave. in 1950. Until now, all the station had was a flag staff that firefighters extended from a bracket outside a front window.
About a year ago, Fire Station 3 Captain Mike Wittry asked about obtaining a true flagpole, but found that no city funds were available. Jeremiah Ahrens, a station firefighter and former Boy Scout, brought the suggesion to Troop 3, which meets at Trinity United Methodist Church. The idea wound up in front of William Hamilton, who was looking for an Eagle Scout project.
Much of the dedication focused on the care of the American flag, as taught in the Boy Scouts. William and other members of his troop formally removed the station flag that had been on the staff, folded it and retired it. Then the flag that had flown over the nation's capitol, provided by Congressman Doug Lamborn's office after being contacted by OWN, was raised and saluted. Shortly afterward, it was taken down - Wittry said it will now be put in a display case at the station - and replaced with an “everyday” American flag.
One of those in attendance was Welling Clark, president of OWN, who had made himself available over the months as an “interface” for William in dealing with government people and others. “We're [OWN] in favor of it big-time,” Clark explained in a previous e-mail. “It's a way we citizens can show appreciation for firefighters as well as help a young man earn his Eagle Scout.”
Also at the dedication were three elected public officials - Sallie Clark (Welling's wife), El Paso County commissioner; Lisa Czelatdko, District 3 City Councilmember; and Bernie Herpin, District 4 councilmember.
Asked afterward about the time he'd put into the project, William pointed out that to receive final approval he still has to fill out forms to be reviewed by his troop, the local district and the national office. “This [getting the pole in] was just a third of it,” he said, with a game smile. “The rest is paperwork.”
Hamilton shouldn't be concerned, however, according to Jan Brewington, a long-time volunteer with Girl and Boy Scouts and a member of the Troop 3 committee. “He's had to deal with several entities and he's done a lot of work,” she said. “He'll be fine.”
Westside Pioneer article