HUBBARD - While many people choose to raise Old Glory this time each year, an area group decided every home in Hubbard could use a little more red, white and blue.
What started out as a small gesture has now grown to more than 5,000 flags, and all of them will be hand-delivered by Thursday. Each flag has a card attached to the pole that says, "God Bless America and Hubbard, Ohio."
"We're celebrating America in an all-American city," said Rich Suhovecky of Burgan Real Estate, who is providing 5,000 of the flags. "The people of Hubbard are so wonderful. They're just so happy to see something going on, especially the American flag," he said.
Brianna Cohol, 18, of Hubbard, places a flag in front of a Fifth Avenue residence on Saturday in Hubbard. For the sixth year, Rich Suhovecky, members of Covenant Life Fellowship Church youth group and others are placing more than 5,000 flags across Hubbard for July 4. By Bonnie Hazen
Burgan Real Estate co-founder John Burgan is providing an additional 14,000 flags, some of which will be distributed during the Fourth of July parade in Austintown.
"This started about 12 years ago," Burgan said, explaining that real estate agent Karen Ament started by delivering 200 flags to her neighbors.
"She would go out at midnight on the third of July ... over the years, it's expanded because of her idea. Rich kind of took it to a whole new level," he said.
Also helping out is the youth group of Covenant Life Fellowship Church.
"I've been doing it all six years," said Brianna Cohol, 18. "I enjoy doing it, it doesn't feel like work. People really appreciate it. It just feels good knowing that people enjoy America," she said.
It was 14-year-old Emma Kanning's first year participating.
"I think it's fun and a great way to show patriotism. It's great to see that people notice your effort," she said.
Youth pastor Dennis Cohol said it is also a great opportunity for him to get out and talk to people in the community.
"Some say it's nice to see the kids out here," he said, "and it's good to bring the patriotism."
Burgan and Suhovecky said they receive very few complaints and the flags are rarely disturbed, but this year they noticed flags were missing from several lawns.
"Somebody transplanted them. This is the first time it's happened," Cohol said, explaining that he later saw a group of flags had been placed by the sign in front of Hubbard High School. He doesn't know who did it or why, but chalked it up to some mischievous teens. Cohol said he wasn't concerned as the flags were not tossed carelessly onto the lawn but were seated firmly in the ground.
Suhovecky said he won't be satisfied until every home in Hubbard has a flag, although he admitted it is a challenging feat to accomplish considering the span of the city and township.
He said the gesture is meant as a thank-you to the residents of Hubbard.
"It's also to thank God for all the blessings he's bestowed upon this country, and to thank all the servicemen and all the veterans who have died in the past. It's just a celebration," he said.