TURLOCK — Donnell Bak feels like he's getting somewhere in his crusade to fly more U.S. flags.
One city has signed on to the 62-year-old Air Force veteran's plan to set aside a street for flags each holiday. The Hughson City Council last month agreed to set aside Hughson Avenue for that purpose.
Although most cities have a program to fly flags on patriotic holidays, what Bak wants is a little more: He is assembling a Fly the Flag committee to sell flags in honor of military members who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ideally, he'll have a chapter in each city responsible for selling the flags, then putting them up and taking them down each holiday.
It's still early, but Bak said he hopes to make a strong showing in Hughson for Veterans Day. And he's not giving up hope on other places.
"We haven't heard back from any of the other cities in Stanislaus County, but Tracy is really interested," he said.
In Tracy, police Sgt. Tony Sheneman, a city spokesman, said he wasn't aware of Bak's effort, but said he could be working through other agencies. Sheneman said Police Department volunteers put up flags to commemorate holidays.
Request before supervisors
Bak first made news with a June request to the Board of Supervisors seeking a law requiring all businesses and nonprofit organizations fly the flag, "To give respect to the American Soldiers now serving in war in foreign countries and the fallen soldiers who have died, recently in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Bak said he realizes there are people against the wars, but his program is about honoring those serving, not those making the decisions. He said his grass-roots effort to set aside a street in each city stands a better chance than the countywide law.
He is still assembling committees to help with the legwork and working on a deal with a flag distributor for sales. He said he hopes more cities will follow Hughson, once they see the project come together. He's looking for sponsors for a dedication ceremony.
Although he's run into some resistance along the way, Bak said he's going to keep pushing for one reason:
"Parents and relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan now have a place to put up flags, to honor those soldiers."
Contact the Fly the Flag committee at P.O. Box 2357, Ceres, 95307 or email@example.com.
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2343.