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Ceremony marks new Mission Solano flagpole

bridge life flag, 11/12/12

Senior Airman Kayla Ambrosino, left, Senior Airman Jonathan Hunt and Sgt. Rose Andan, right, take part in a flag raising ceremony at Mission Solano's Bridge to Life Center in Fairfield, Monday morning. The three are part of the 60th Medical Group, which helped get the center's flag pole built. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

By
From page A3 | November 13, 2012 |

FAIRFIELD — Misson Solano’s Bridge to Life center has its own flag.

About 75 people watched as the American flag was raised atop a 40-foot flagpole Monday under crisp, blue skies. The event included a dedication ceremony featuring servicemen and servicewomen from Travis Air Force Base.

John Cassidy, a 20-year Army veteran, lives in the Bridge to Life building that houses homeless veterans. Having the flag to view means a lot to him.

“It makes the place look more official,” said Cassidy, who said he served three tours of duty overseas. It will serve as a daily reminder of the freedom for which he fought.

About 40 veterans call the Bridge to Life center home.

The flagpole formerly stood in front of the Veterans Hall on Main Street in Suisun City. Councilman Mike Segala found its new home. “It served us proudly in Suisun,” he said.

The Veterans Hall is undergoing a renovation. The new look will include two flagpoles – one that will fly the American flag, the other a POW/MIA flag.

“I knew from the beginning the centerpiece (here) would be a flagpole,” said Ron Marlette, executive director of Mission Solano. “We had to make this happen. I wanted the biggest flagpole.”

Marlette said that he grew up in a time when America was not involved in war. “Many of my generation thank those who served before us,” he said.

Col. (Dr.) Kevin Connolly, 60th Medical Group commander at Travis Air Force Base, echoed those sentiments.

“Your service has paved the way for us still on active duty, so we can live free,” he said.

Fairfield Mayor Harry Price lauded Mission Solano for its work on behalf of homeless veterans. “We are our brother’s keepers,” Price said.

Temperatures were in the 40s for the morning ceremony.

“It’s appropriate it’s a bit uncomfortable,” said Tim LeFever, president of Mission Solano’s board of directors. “This is a place for people who have felt uncomfortable in the cold. The community here takes a sense of pride in giving someone a place to sleep or to feed them a meal. Veterans know discomfort greater than not having a place to sleep.”

About one-fifth of homeless men are veterans, Marlette said.

The flag will be lit in the darkness via a solar floodlight.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.
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Discussion | 1 comment

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  • Mike SegalaNovember 13, 2012 - 8:32 am

    Another great article Amy, but I know you have just so much area to print so much. I would like to add to the effort and that it was more about an ongoing partnership between Solano County and the veterans. During the remodeling, more a reconstruction, of the Veterans Memorial Building, there was a decision to replace the existing 40' pole with two new ones. The existing pole was destined to be scrapped when I conferred with two fellow veterans, Mike Satterfield and Rich Jones to the idea of recycling it use. It has served us well and still had more time to give to supporting our veterans. Mike, Rich and myself represent the Veterans Memorial Building during the reconstruction at 427 Main Street. In one of our weekly meetings with James, the County representative, we agreed that they would give me two weeks to find a new home for the pole. It took not even two days when a received a return call from Mike Rice, Miller-Sorg group, who was building the veteran's housing at Bridge to Life. It was a go, Mission Solano would love to have such a centerpiece displaying our American flag over the courtyard in front of the veterans' housing unit. Again, thank you for being at the event and thank you to all who were involved in 'bridging' the unused pole to the new life at the Bridge to Life Center...

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