SYCAMORE – A local veterans group is looking to hand off a 30-year tradition to a new group, but it needs the community’s help to find it.
The former DeKalb County Chapter of VietNow, a national veterans organization, wants a new group to take over setting up the 130 American flags outside of the courthouse for future Memorial and Veterans Day ceremonies, as well as storing and maintaining the flags throughout the year. The group meets informally since the dissolution of the national organization in 2017.
Immediate help is needed to erect the flags at 4 p.m. Thursday for Memorial Day weekend, but former VietNow member Frank Beierlotzer said he does not have a deadline for another group to take over flag duties entirely and would prefer to hand the flags off to other veterans.
“Anyone who wants to take them and do well with them can do so at anytime,” Beierlotzer said. “We’re not just going to give it to someone who wants to store it and never use it.”
The courthouse flag ceremony started modestly with 30 flags, but has grown to encompass 130 flags, Beierlotzer said. The flags are stored in a 12-foot trailer throughout the year.
A settlement with former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in 2017 dissolved the VietNow’s national headquarters after the organization was found to have only contributed a fraction of its donations to charitable causes, according to a news release from the Illinois Attorney General’s office.
Beierlotzer, who served in the U.S. Army from 1964 to 1967 and in the National Guard from 1988 to 1994, said the DeKalb County chapter of VietNow was dissolved in December and no longer wishes to continue its flag duties.
Those who are interested in taking over for VietNow can contact Beierlotzer at 815-901-3834 or firstname.lastname@example.org.