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Palmerton football players, citizens place 1,200 flags in borough park

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    Members of the Palmerton Area High School football team helped place over 1,000 flags around the perimeter of the borough park on Thursday. Front to back: Dylan Frank, Owen Buck and Joey DeRossi. Scan this photo with the Prindeo app to see a video. BRIAN W. MYSZKOWSKI/TIMES NEWS

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    Flags line the border of the park.

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    Richard Nothstein sharpens the edge of the flagpoles at the borough park. BRIAN W. MYSZKOWSKI/TIMES NEWS

Published June 29. 2018 12:15PM


Members of the Palmerton community came together on Thursday to prepare the park for the most patriotic of holidays.

Richard and Darlene Nothstein, along with Palmerton Area High School football coach Chris Walkowiak and some of his players, decked the park’s perimeter out with about 1,200 flags.

“I was down with my daughter in Lancaster, and she says, ‘Mom, you have to see this,’ because she knows we’re involved with the veterans. She took me down to this residential area, and blocks upon blocks upon blocks, they had flags on both sides. It gave me goose pimples, it was so beautiful,” Darlene said. “I showed it to Dick, and I asked, ‘Could we do this in town?’ He took the bull by the horns and ran with it.”

The Nothsteins, along with the other co-owners of Country Harvest, offered to provide funding for the flag project.

“We ordered 1,400 flags, and we figure that will take care of the whole thing. It’s a project of respect and gratitude. The kids, they helped us with the wall, and just mentioning it to Coach Walkowiak, he said, ‘The kids will do it,’ ” Richard said.

The football players have helped out with projects like this before — two years ago, as Nothstein said, they helped out when it came time to set up and break down the Moving Wall memorial. Walkowiak said that he values such opportunities, as they help foster connection between the players and the community.

“It’s just a great cause. We always talk about our guys giving back to the community. It’s a small school, and we ask for donations to keep up our fundraising, so any time we have a chance to give back, we like to step up and teach that in our program. I think that’s a good sign of the making of a young man,” Walkowiak said.

Nothstein invested about a week of his time just to sharpen the small flagpoles for planting, whittling each down with a pencil sharpener.

Mayor Christopher Olivia came out to pitch in on Thursday, sporting a Valor shirt as he placed flags along Delaware Avenue.

“We’re already getting compliments,” he said as he worked. “A woman just walked by and said it looked nice.”

After about an hour of work, the players had the park covered, with all the flags set 3 feet from the edge of the property, and spaced 3 feet apart.

The flag display makes a stunning spectacle for Independence Day, and a fantastic product of community support that connects local government, businesses and schools in their appreciation for the country.

“I like the feeling of being able to contribute to the community, and make the park feel right for the holiday,” football player Owen Buck said. “I think it turned out very well, and the park looks very nice with the flags lining it.”



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