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Marine vet builds a new flagpole for World War II veteran

By ROBIN TRIMARCHI | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (Tribune News Service) | Published: February 26, 2017

The 90-year old veteran stood in salute as a new American flag was raised in his front yard on a sunny Friday afternoon. Retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Joseph Roy volunteered for duty on March 10, 1943, and served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

"I'd never thought of putting one up," Roy said of the flag. But his son's friend Brantley Cargill of Columbus thought of it and contacted Jamie Popwell of Auburn, Ala., to do the honors. "I called Charles (Roy) and asked him what we could do, you know, I thought about his daddy."

Earlier this year, Popwell founded Flags for Vets, and he travels the southeast placing or replacing flags at the homes of military veterans.

"It's just a way for me, really, to give back," the Marine Corps veteran said. "I don't think I can put into words what it means to me to be able to recognize the veterans."

A neighbor of Popwell's saw a social media post that showed flags Popwell had placed in his own yard and in the yard at this father's home and asked if he would erect a flagpole for a veteran that the neighbor knew. After Popwell posted photos and a brief story about the Vietnam veteran, the calls began coming in. He has placed about a dozen flags in a just a few weeks. He shares the stories and photos of the veterans on the Flags for Vets Facebook page.

"I hope and pray that I'm around long enough to put one up in every veteran's yard that I can," he said. "I'll go as far as Mississippi, and as far north as Tennessee and as far south as Florida."

Popwell accepts donations to pay for the flagpole and flags, which cost about $100 each. An account has been opened at Auburn Bank for donors to contribute to the project, or money can be donated to a PayPal account through the email address flagsforvets1@gmail.com.

(c) 2017 the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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