KENT, Ohio — When John Yensel of Dayton passed away in 2015, his son Joe felt the need to do something fitting to memorialize him.
“He was a veteran, and he was the kind of guy who would go to people’s homes when they had flags hung up incorrectly or that needed to be replaced and helped remind them to do that,” said Yensel.
He decided to turn his grief into a therapeutic patriotic display and started going to neighbors offering to put flags in their front yards. This year’s display includes 60 flags.
“We didn’t know any of these people really before we started going to their doors and introducing ourselves and explaining what we were doing, so now we are waving to each other, we know each other’s names, it’s kind of brought that street to what a community should be,” said Yensel.
Yensel said he pays for the flags himself, but invites homeowners to contribute to a youth charity.
“We donate 100% of it to the Children’s Advocacy Center in Ravenna. They help kids that have gone through some sort of trauma and need help going through the legal process,” Yensel explained.
His wife Jen believes the display fulfills what Joe set out to accomplish.
“I think it’s a nice way to honor his dad, not just once a year visiting a site or anything, it’s constantly year round doing work for the flags, building a community honoring the flag, which is such like his dad,” she said.