Iowa student honors veterans with huge American flag after fundraising effort
A high school senior raised $6,000 for a flag that now flies in the school's gym
A high school student in Iowa is being recognized for his commitment to honor veterans in his local community by leading a fundraising effort to purchase a massive American flag for his school.
"It's just a way to honor them and show appreciation and want to do something for them," Gavin Nelson, a senior at Hinton High School, shared with a local news station.
Nelson initially presented the idea to purchase the flag and dedicate it to the school — and the school board loved it, Ken Slater, superintendent of Hinton schools, told Fox News.
"His goal last year when he came to the board was to be able to dedicate it on Veterans Day," Slater said. "He was able to follow through and make that happen, which was perfect."
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The estimated cost of the project was $6,000 and, after Nelson got the green light from the school board, he got to work.
First, he got the word out and met with local businesses to collect donations for the massive 12-by-18-foot flag.
The donations began pouring in and Nelson ultimately collected a whopping $9,000 — a testament to the patriotism of his fellow community members — exceeding his goal.
"The community loved the project and was extremely supportive," Slater said. "We had several community members thank Gavin for his gesture towards the veterans. His family was very proud of him."
"The community loved the project and was extremely supportive. We had several community members thank Gavin for his gesture towards the veterans. His family was very proud of him."
The additional donations covered the cost of installation, the superintendent explained.
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The flag was installed in the school’s auditorium during a Veterans Day ceremony and all those who see it continue to remember the sacrifice and service of veterans for the country.
"On behalf of the school board, I would like to say that we as a school are humbled by Gavin's service project and his ability to bring the community together for a great cause to honor our veterans. It also shows that we are in good hands with young people like Gavin," Slater said.
"Students love the flag as well and they are proud of Gavin for taking this project on," he added.
The ceremony was special to Nelson as his grandfather is a veteran and was in attendance.
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The student was initially inspired to get the flag after he saw "Old Glory" flying in the gym ahead of a basketball game versus another school.
"Last year we were playing a game against West Sioux High School and they had a flag just like we have here," Gavin told FOX 44 of Sioux City, Iowa. "I thought that would be a pretty cool idea to get for our school."
You can see the flag in its full glory during any basketball game in the gym, or when the national anthem is sung.
In addition, the funds Nelson collected covered the cost of a Chair of Honor and a plaque with the names of those who donated.
"His efforts also paid for a Chair of Honor in remembrance of soldiers Missing in Action or Prisoners of War. He will also have a folded flag with a plaque that will represent the people donating to the project," Slater said.