Children raise funds for flags in Shank Park

Sisters present proposal to Amelia Village Council

Second grader Christina Umberg and her sister, a fourth grader, present their American Heritage Girls project to replace the flags in Shank Park to the Amelia Village Council Monday, Dec. 6.

Two Amelia girls are taking the initiative to improve their favorite spot to play.

Fourth grader Lizzie Umberg and her sister Christina, a second grader, have decided to raise funds to replace the flags at Shank Park.

The sisters are members of the American Heritage Girls Troop 0522 based in Bethel. They came to a recent Amelia Village Council meeting to ask permission to undertake the project.

Lizzie Umberg presented the project to the mayor and council with the ease of an ODOT official discussing an upcoming state Route 125 project.

“We just moved to Amelia and noticed the flags at Shank Park needed replacing,” Lizzie Umberg said. “We would like to replace them for Amelia Village as a service project. I think doing this is nice to honor the people who fought in the wars because so many people died to save America.”

The girls plan to replace the American flag, the Ohio flag, and the POW/MIA flag in the park. They have also developed a plan to light the flags at night using solar powered spotlights, something that will hopefully improve the flags’ visibility from the road, Lizzie Umberg said.

“According to U.S. flag code, you must light a flag flown at night,” Lizzie Umberg said. “Solar would be the cheapest and most realistic solution.”

The girls presented cost estimates based on their research with the total project cost estimated to be just under $700 including tax and shipping. The three solar lights make up the bulk of the cost.

“This is just more than 50 cents per household,” Lizzie Umberg said. “A small price to honor our country and our military.”

Mayor Leroy Ellington and the village council were very impressed with the girls’ proposal and it was met with resounding applause.

“I can’t tell you how proud it makes me for you to take the time to be here and to notice that the flags are in need of replacing,” Ellington said. “I think it means an awful lot to the people sitting up here and the people of the community that you would take the time to notice that, and the time to get involved.”

Council member Renee Gerber’s son was recently deployed to Afghanistan and she said she was especially touched by their actions.

“That was a very well done presentation,” Gerber said. “I appreciate you showing pride for those who have served and those who have not made it. Your parents should be very very proud of both of you.”

The girls, who are home schooled, will begin their fund-raising efforts by going door to door and soliciting donations from local businesses. After the holidays they will ask permission to stand outside local businesses to solicit donations. Lizzie Umberg said her mother will manage the funds and and track the addresses, but not amounts, of those who donate in order to thank them and alert them of the completion of the project.

Should they exceed their funding goal the girls said they would donate the remaining funds to the village to be set aside for future flag purchases.