A local family is feeling thankful after an inquiry on social media resulted in a deluge of offers for help.
Kimberly Harting of Hermiston said hundreds of people wrote her with kind words and offers of free flags or other help after she asked who she could call to help her father, Larry Hatle of Umatilla, replace the weathered American flag he flies in his yard along with a Marine Corps flag.
Harting said she had noticed the American flag was getting very tattered and asked her dad — a proud veteran after 20 years of Marine Corps service — why he hadn’t replaced it as usual. He told her the pulley mechanism was broken and someone would have to access the top of the tall flagpole to untangle the rope and bring the flag down.
“Dad’s going to be 80 this month and mom’s not far behind,” Harting said. “They just can’t do some stuff.”
Harting, who didn’t have a tall enough ladder and is afraid of heights anyway, posted about the predicament on the What’s Happening Hermiston Facebook page, where Hermiston residents pose questions to the community.
“I had looked in the yellow pages and found nothing, so I asked if there’s anybody I can call,” she said. “I said ‘I’d be happy to pay for the service, I just need to know who to call.’”
Within 20 minutes Chad Weems from WildCat Electric commented on the post, offering to bring the company’s bucket truck over for free to get the flag down and put up a new one, which he did. Harting said it was one of several hundred comments and private messages she got over the last couple of weeks.
She said her mother Donna is dealing with cancer for the third time and as a result her parents haven’t been able to travel to Arizona for the winter like they usually do. They’ve been missing their friends down there, she said, and so when she read them the messages of support and thanks for her father’s service that had come in it really helped cheer them up.
“My mom cried when I showed her everyone’s posts,” Harting wrote in a follow-up Facebook post on Nov. 10. “My dad was choked up but Marines don’t cry. Lol He was especially appreciative of the other Marines that posted, what with it being The Marine Corps birthday and pretty much all of his buddies have passed on. This is why I love Hermiston, because of people like all of you.”
She said an organization called Veterans helping Veterans is planning to come replace the pulley system so that the same problem doesn’t happen again.
“It was nice to see so many people being so supportive of total strangers,” she said.
Contact Jade McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-564-4536.