Flag day comes early

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Bill Whiteley and soldiers prepare flag for raising
Bill Whiteley and soldiers prepare flag for raising

Activities Director Pat Roza didn't go to a big box store to replace the tattered American flag at the 62-bed Elant at Wappingers Falls nursing home in Wappingers Falls, NY. Instead, she called her congressman, U.S. Rep Sean Patrick Maloney (D).

Maloney provided a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol. He also attended the flag-raising ceremony at Elant. The flag was dedicated to Wayne Whiteley, who was killed while serving in Vietnam. His parents, Tess and Bill, both live at Elant.

Bill Whiteley, a World War II veteran, raised the flag.

There are usually about 10 veterans in residence at Wappingers Falls, according to Roza, and they create a valuable connection between the nursing home and the community. There were about 50 people at the flag-raising, Roza says, including soldiers and veterans from the local VFW and recruiting center. The VFW chaplain is a regular presence at Wappingers Falls and the nearby Elant residence in Fishkill.

The vets inspire wider community involvement with the nursing home. Local businessman Stan Straub, whose parents lived at Elant, donated a new pole for the special flag.

“It means a lot to the residents to know they're not forgotten,” Roza says.
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