A festive day at Pleak’s Do-It Center managed to honor Father’s Day, the American Flag and some of the simple joys of summer all in one Saturday.
And though family patriarch Walter E. Pleak, the founder of the 55-year-old Greensburg business, wasn’t there in person, his family made certain his cherished memory was at the forefront.
Walter’s daughter Cheryl Linville began collecting tattered, torn and soiled flags in her father’s memory recently, with the intention of handing them over to the American Legion for a proper, respectful disposal. Walter Pleak, who passed away in February at the age of 98, had been a member of the American Legion for more than 60 years. Prior to that, he had served with the U.S. Army in World War II.
Saturday morning, some who knew Walter joined his family in collecting the flags and enjoying grill-cooked treats.
New American Legion Post 129 Commander Ric Morgan was joined by First Vice Commander John Land and Honor Guard Bud Ryle, who picked up approximately 120 donated flags no longer fit to be flown. Those items will be burned, according to proper custom, in a somber, respectful ceremony in July. The Legion accepts such flags at all times, Land said.
Cheryl Linville noted her hopes that folks turning in unusable flags would go on to soon replace them.
“We’ve encouraged everyone to turn them in,” Linville said. “They can put out new flags and be proud of our country.”
The donated flags came in all sizes, from the smallest being akin to those placed on automobiles during an Independence Day parade, to those similar in size to flags draped solemnly across the caskets of deceased veterans.
It was just the sort of activity the patriotic Walter Pleak might have well enjoyed. Adding in a demonstration of Pleak’s line of Weber grills was another nod to Walter, who Linville said loved to grill out whenever given the chance.
Teri Wedge and her assistant, Nick Wehlage, cooked up sausage links, ribs, and even tomato-topped pizzas and coconut rum-infused pineapples for a host of shoppers and Pleak’s employees throughout the morning and into the afternoon.
Wedge was on hand to demonstrate the grill and she told the Daily News that more unique recipes can be found on Apple devices by adding the Weber recipe app.
It was a time of good food, fond memories and paying proper homage to the symbol of American freedom.
Legion members stressed the importance of honoring the American Flag and encouraged all citizens to read up on the rules of flag flying in order to properly display the Stars and Stripes in and around their homes.
With the Fourth of July only weeks away, John Land mentioned, for example, that flying the flag at half staff may be decreed only by the President of the United States for national remembrances, or by the Governor of Indiana for statewide purposes.
The American Legion’s website at americanlegion.org offers more tips, just in time for the nation’s most patriotic holiday.
Saturday’s festivities conjured up some of the spirit of America’s founding fathers on the eve of the nation’s celebration of dads everywhere. Walter Pleak’s family, wife Freda, son Rick and daughter Cheryl, also took time out of an especially busy morning to sit together for a photo at the event. Cheryl stated her hopes that Saturday’s activities will become an annual Pleak tradition.
If Walter’s oft-mentioned patriotism was any indication, it’s likely he would be quite proud of his family’s flag collection program.
Cheryl and Legion members reflected on Walter Pleak’s raising of the flag at MainSource in honor of Veteran’s Day last November, recalling how much he enjoyed participating in that activity.
Those on hand Saturday made it clear they intend to keep Walter Pleak’s memory and his patriotism alive alongside his lifelong respect of the nation’s most enduring physical symbol.
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056