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Andreas club dedicates new flagpole

Andreas Sporting Club dedicated a new 65-foot-tall flagpole in honor of veterans and first responders on Saturday.

Guests were in attendance including members of the Andreas VFW Post 5069, the Schuylkill-Carbon Marine Corps League Detachment 626, and West Penn Township supervisors, police, fire and ambulance personnel.

Guest speakers included the Rev. Russell Campbell of Zion Stone Church of West Penn Township, state Sen. Dave Argall, R-Schuylkill/Berks, state Rep. Jerry Knowles, R-Carbon/Schuylkill and state Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon.

Argall said how fortunate he felt that the family members that came before him chose to live here in America to ensure freedom for the generations that followed. He explained that as Americans, it’s important to remember the real reason that people should celebrate during the Fourth of July holiday.

“It’s a lot more than fireworks and red, white and blue. It’s about honoring the people who came before us to defend the flag,” Argall said.

Heffley also discussed the importance of honoring the American flag. He expressed appreciation for the people in attendance who chose to be present at the flag dedication ceremony.

“So many times you see folks who don’t really comprehend or understand what the flag stands for and maybe they disrespect it when the anthem is played. It’s wonderful to see so many people here to honor it,” Heffley said.

Following words by the guest speakers, Boy Scouts from West Penn Troop 756 and Cub Pack 756 came together to raise the 12-by-18-foot American flag on the newly dedicated flagpole.

The ceremony concluded with a three-rifle volley and the playing of taps by trumpeter Mark Kolb of Nazareth.

Following the ceremony, the sporting club held its annual Fourth of July party, a tradition that the club has held since the 1950s. The party included a raffle, food and fireworks toward the evening.

This dedication ceremony was the sporting club’s first event on the grove since COVID-19 restrictions began in March 2020.

Pam Kolb, who attended with husband Mark, noted the importance of celebrating the Fourth of July holiday.

“We’re celebrating everything that people have done for our country and for our independence and freedom,” she said.

Andreas Sporting Club Vice President Dean Deem has been a member of the club for 27 years and its vice president for 10 years.

Deem explained that the sporting club is one of the only group organizations in Andreas and that having a flagpole was a needed thing in the community to stand as a reminder of our freedom.

Plans for the new flagpole initially began prior to COVID-19, but were put on hold because of the pandemic.

Construction finally began in the spring of this year though, primarily with the hard work of the sporting club’s own members.

“With everybody off of work we all had an opportunity to get to this point on our own without having to hire anybody. We have enough talented people and tradesmen within the club that we called on. They were more than glad to come out and help us get to where we are now,” Deem said.

The finalization of construction for the flagpole came just in time for the July Fourth weekend, a fitting holiday to hold a dedication ceremony.

The flagpole is only the first phase of the sporting club’s upcoming Service Members Memorial to honor local service members. In the future, they plan to construct an entire memorial park with six different wings dedicated to each branch of the military as well as first responders.

For more information on the Andreas Sporting Club and to keep up to date on future events, visit www.facebook.com/andreassportingclub.

The American flag being flown on the newly dedicated flagpole at Andreas Sporting Club this Fourth of July weekend. LINDSEY BOWMAN/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Boy Scouts from West Penn Troop 756 and Cub Pack 756 hang up the flag on the new flagpole during the flagpole dedication ceremony. LINDSEY BOWMAN/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS