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Schools must raise cash to raise flag

A 15- by 25-foot American flag will fly on a 70-foot flagpole at the Liberty Middle and Freedom High school entrance if organizers sell about $25,000 worth of bricks.

By MELIA BOWIE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 27, 2002


TAMPA PALMS -- On sale now, a place in Liberty Middle and Freedom High school's history.

For a $75 to $1,000 donation, parents, community members and corporate sponsors can snag a stone or brick engraved with their name at the joint campus.

The stones are part of a fundraiser to buy a 70-foot flagpole to be erected at the entrance of the schools next year.

The deadline to buy a brick is Oct. 31.

The idea was inspired last year in the aftermath of Sept. 11, an event that inspired the two schools' names.

"The schools with their names deserved a more fitting tribute than just two little flags," said parent Terry Wolford, who is organizing the effort. "They deserved something that was a more powerful statement for the community and the country; something that would last forever."

The flagpole, with its 15- by 25-foot American flag, would stand at the main entrance of the two schools.

Organizers need between $25,000 and $28,000 to pay for the flag, its pole, installation, electrical fixtures for nighttime illumination and a paved walkway surrounding its base.

So far about $15,000 has been raised; most are individual contributions, said parent Lynn Gruber.

Volunteers with the memorial flag campaign have passed out fliers to area schools, and "we've been talking to different groups and businesses," Gruber added.

USAA Insurance, Wal-Mart, Bostonian Hair Salon, Tampa Palms Plastic Surgery, Tampa Palms Animal Hospital, Coldwell Banker, Florida Executive Realty and Ciccio & Tony's are among the sponsors.

Organizers hope to raise the flag at the school's dedication ceremony on March 2.

While they are working on the layout now, it could change, Wolford said, depending in part on which bricks sell most successfully. Construction could take anywhere from a few days to six weeks. It also is not yet clear who will appear at the dedication ceremony. School administrators and parents have a wish list that includes President Bush, Gov. Jeb Bush , Secretary of State Colin Powell and Gen. Tommy Franks.

Among other things, Wolford said, "the governor's office said they're just waiting to see if he's still the governor in November."

-- For information on the personalized bricks and stones, contact Wolford at 978-0878 or terry_wolford@hotmail.com.

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