By Robert Medley
Senior Staff Writer
As Veterans Day approached several years ago, Kevin “Bandit” Blake of Moore thought about his neighbor, a veteran who didn’t have a flagpole.
He found out his neighbor wished he had a flag to fly on Veterans Day.
Blake, while still awake before drifting off to sleep that night, thought of a way to fix things.
He paid for a flagpole and the equipment to install one for his neighbor and Army veteran Kenneth Myers as a surprise for Christmas, a gift completed with help from his motorcycle enthusiast friends.
“I was doing a church event feeding families for Christmas,” Blake recalled about how he heard that Myers wanted a flagpole but didn’t have one.
Citing statistics that show 22 veterans die of suicide a day, Blake puts out 22 flagpoles on the Sunday before Veterans Day.
Veterans Day will be observed this year on Saturday, Nov. 11.
Last Sunday, Nov. 5, Blake and others arrived at the home of Chris Reel, an Air Force veteran who lives near SW 15th and Morgan Road. They left him with Old Glory flying high.
They have been to homes of other Canadian County veterans in recent years.
Blake and others install three to five poles each Sunday from March to December. They have erected 540 poles since starting the nonprofit program that goes to homes of veterans across Oklahoma.
The teams met Nov. 5 at the Veterans Memorial at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. The bikers split into teams, and a team went north to the Edmond and Guthrie area, another team went east to Midwest City and one south in the metro.
The group, known as “Flag Poles Honoring Our Veterans,” continues to look for veterans in need. They have a waiting list of over 250 veterans.
For more information, call Blake at (405) 615-0322 or send an email to email@example.com.