By Tim Leeds
All of the Lions Club Swim Team's 116 American flags are flying in front of Havre businesses today.
Sherry Obrecht, who oversees the flying of the swim team flags with her husband, Todd, said the team began putting the flags out again Friday in memory of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. The team flew about 70 of its flags on Friday, and put the rest out Monday and Tuesday.
"It's been great. The businesses in this town have really supported us," she said.
The swim team usually puts its flags out for 10 major holidays each year. Businesses have contracts with it to put out the flags. The money they pay is used to replace 12 flags every year and to support the swim team.
Havre Mayor Phyllis Leonard asked the team to fly the flags for several days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The team took them down on Sept. 15.
After people in the Havre area complained that the flags were no longer flying, the team announced that if the businesses and people of Havre would help it put the flags up and take them down, and donate money to replace damaged flags, it would fly them again.
Obrecht said it takes six hours of work each day for the team to put the flags up and take them down, and would take about $1,600 to replace flags that would be damaged by constant use for a month.
She and other members of the team went out last week to talk to businesses about flying the flags again and making donations to replace worn flags.
The team had received $915 in donations by Tuesday night, and more money is pledged, Obrecht said. Nine more businesses have signed up for the flag service.
Businesses are putting up and taking down all but three of the flags, which the team is taking care of.
Pacific Recycling donated metal to make standards for the nine businesses that have recently signed up, UBC donated some poles to be used as flagpoles.
"We've had everybody help us out. It was kind of nice," Obrecht said.
The team has received donations of two large flags. The team is considering erecting a flagpole by the Community Swimming Pool to fly one of them, and is looking for a location to fly the other.
The team intends to fly its flags through Oct. 11, the one-month anniversary of the attack.
"I think they need to fly at least that long," Obrecht said.
The team will take the flags down in the evening of Oct. 11, although if businesses want to fly them longer they will be able to, Obrecht said.