For 13 years, 1000 flags have flown in honor of those living who have served our country and sadly for those no longer with us. Dedicated to every veteran who gave their all; some losing their lives fighting for their country, some gone long after their service ended but none forgotten to those of us who live on in freedom because of their sacrifice.
It is the Exchange Club of Mesquite, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, financial support of the business community and individual sponsors that make the event possible. This year a special award was presented by Exchange Club President, Susan Jenkins, to Gerrie Chasko for her commitment to the community, military, disabled veteran’s and Mesquite’s nonprofit organizations through Eureka’s Community initiative Project. While presenting the plaque Jenkins said, “It is a privilege and an honor to know this woman. She is so selfless and giving to the Exchange Club and to individuals I just cannot get over it; she’s one in a million.”
While the Eureka is one of the original and by far the largest supporter of the event every year, the event has many supporters and the Exchange Club is equally grateful to each of them.
They offered special thanks to Sandra Edmonds, the coordinator of the event, other Exchange Club members and volunteers who man the field day and night for a full week. They thanked Jennifer Conklin who always facilitates the sound, Charlie and Tatiana Sellner from City Shoppes who support the event each year in numerous ways, The Mesquite Showgirls, Reverend Jimmy Nelson the Mesquite Honor Guard and Mesquite Fire and Rescue.
The club also thanks Mayor Al Litman, US Army Vietnam Veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star for Valor spoke at the event as he often does and is one of the largest supporters of Veteran’s in the Mesquite area as well as Marine Veteran Ron Bird who spoke during the ceremony and played taps during the flag retirement portion. Melissa Rebman entertained the crowd with some patriotic songs and there was a surprise visit from newly re-elected Congressman Steven Horsford.
Steven Horsford joined the 1000 Flags over Mesquite ceremony while serving in Congress in 2013 and presented the Exchange Club of Mesquite, sponsors of the event, an American Flag which was flown over the US Capitol Building on Nevada Day that same year at the Congressman’s request. The flag was presented to the Exchange Club in honor of their commitment to veterans in the 2013 1000 Flags ceremony. The flag has held the position, front and center of the field of 1000 flags of honor ever since and will continue to reign in that position for years to come.
This year’s ceremony called upon the Korean War Veteran’s still living and gave a special thanks to those who fought the “Forgotten War.” There are fewer and fewer each year but M.C., Paul Benedict called out the names of those still living in Mesquite: Richard Cullins, Arden Nelson, Ric Ashdown, Dahl Henrie, Robrt Otis, Dean Rose, Cecil Phipps and Tony Hardway. After calling out the names Benedict said, “Sadly, few remain to answer our call. They are honored in our memories.”
At the end of the Thirteenth Annual One Thousand Flags over Mesquite the Mesquite Fire and Rescue’s Captain David Martinez led Girl Scout Troop #27 of Mesquite in retiring the flag of Vietnam War Veteran and co-founder of the Mesquite Veteran’s Center, Jim Brown’s flag. The flag has flown over Brown’s final resting place since he succumbed to Agent Orange in 2016. The flag was getting old and weathered; Brown’s wife Kathy presented the flag for retirement. This was the first year the Girl Scouts have participated in a Flag Retirement.
As is tradition with all previous 1000 Flags over Mesquite’s closing ceremony, Bagpipe player, Dennis Hangey, played Amazing Grace while taking his final walk through the field of honor.