Members of Coaldale's American Flag Committee are looking for help from residents and businesses after last month's heavy rains and high winds damaged almost all of the flag brackets and poles on Phillps Street.

"Seventy of the committee's 89 American flag brackets or poles were destroyed," said Jimmy Rickert, adjutant and chairman of the committee.

The recent losses followed the more than 80 that were also damaged during last year's storm.

With donations from the community, committee members are hoping to afford stronger brackets and poles.

"This is the first time we've ever had to contact the media to help us raise donations," said Steve Wargo, Coaldale American Legion commander.

"Since we don't have parking meters to mount our flags on, we are limited to mounting them high above on utility poles," Rickert explained. "In addition to damaging winds and storms, our flags are alway susceptible to further damage when they rub against other obstructions located near the top of the utility poles, such as rusty pole steps, seasonal ornaments, various brackets, wires and so on.

"Sadly, we only have a few undamaged flags and poles remaining," said Wargo. "Mother nature is making it extremely hard on us."

Both Rickert and Wargo pointed out that it gets harder each year to keep up with maintenance costs.

"Nothing is free anymore. Dry cleaners used to dry clean our flags for free," Wargo said.

"No matter what, we will never stop flying them," stressed Rickert.

Members of the committee are hoping they get good support from the community, as donations will be used to buy better quality flags and poles.

Members of the flag committee, which consists of the Coaldale American Legion, Coaldale VFW, Coaldale Lions Club, Coaldale Sons of the American Legion and Coaldale Borough, will meet again in the next few days to make their final determination on what materials they will use for the new flags and poles.

They said that the volume of donations will strongly affect their decision.

"We (committee members) want residents to continue saying 'Wow!' when they look down Phillips Street," said Rickert.

To provide a donation, mail a check or money order to Coaldale American Legion, 105 2nd Street, Coaldale, PA 18218. For more information, call (570) 645- 4374 or (570) 952-1129.