Vandals and thieves targeted American flags in Melissa on June 14. The flags were part of the flag lease program sponsored by the Melissa Rotary Club and were beset upon over the Flag Day weekend.
The vandals cut five flags off their mounting poles in Country Ridge. Additionally, two flags were stolen —one at the Melissa Middle School and one in Berry Farms
"We were outraged at disrespect shown to the American flag and the veterans that have fought for our freedom," said Johnny Mayberry, Rotary Club President. The flags were cut off about an inch from the pole."
Rotary members have committed money amounting to a $1,000 reward for the apprehension of those involved with the desecration of the flags. Tips can be called to Melissa Rotary at 972-850-6765 or Melissa Police Department at 972-838-2033.
The Flag Day attacks come one year after five flags were stolen in one weekend. One of those flags was believed to have ended up posted on a Facebook page. However, Melissa police investigated the incident and declined to support criminal prosecution in the matter due to insufficient evidence, according to MPD Capt. Kyle Babcock.
The Melissa Rotary became a chartered Rotary Club on April 22, 2010. In the spirit of "service above self" the Melissa Rotary supported the spirit of volunteerism and the ability to help raise funds with the Flag Lease Program.
Billed as "Flag City, Melissa TX USA" the program started with 97 lease flags in that first year. When a flag is leased for $35 per year, the Melissa Rotary volunteer members place a capped PVC plastic sleeve in the ground and, on six holidays a year, a 3’x 5’ United States flag mounted on a 10’ metal pole that is placed in the sleeve. Under Arlington Cemetery rules, temporary flags do not have to be lighted at night.
For 2013, the Rotary program grew to hand out more than 365 flags and appear headed towards the 2013 goal of 400. Funds raised by the program support local charities such as Brush With Kindness which, in 2012, renovated an elderly person’s home, RYLA (two Melissa students sent to Rotary Youth Leadership camp), Melissa Education Foundation currently with five scholarship students, CASA, the Samaritan Inn, the Food Pantry as well as specific programs for needy children and households, and provides support to Rotary International efforts.