The Woodward News

October 17, 2013

Veteran presents flag to Horace Mann Elementary

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Air Force veteran Matthew Kinsey loves America.

So when he had to go by his son Ryan's school for a meeting and he saw their flag in need of repair, he did what any man who had served his country would do, he presented them with one.

Now, a brand new, large American flag hangs proudly in front of Horace Mann Elementary.

"We appreciate this more than you know," said Horace Mann Counselor Jill Rogers. "To see a need and then just to step up to the plate and reach down in his heart and provide that need is just awesome."

The flag was given by Kinsey as a gift when he returned home after serving three years in Iraq as a civilian contractor.

Kinsey worked between 2008 and 2011 building bases in Iraq as a Department of Defense civilian.  When soldiers came home, he remained there, working as a heavy equipment operator and foreman taking bases down.

From Kinsey's service in the military as well as his years living in a country where freedom is still an idea, not reality, he said he is passionate about the symbolism of the flag.

"So I went by the school because my son got in trouble and when I got there and looked up at their flag," he said. "It is against the patriot code to fly a flag that is worn and I wanted to help them."

So as soon as Kinsey dealt with the issues his son was having at school, he jumped in his vehicle, drove to his house and retrieved the only new flag he had.

"It about made me cry," Rogers said. "You know, when he asked us if we needed a new flag and I said 'Yes, we do need one badly,' he left and within five minutes he was back with that flag."

What is really special is that his son Ryan will get to see that flag every day and know that is his father's flag, Roger said.

Rogers said a local Boy Scout troop came to the school and properly retired the former flag that had been so worn.

"Now we need an Oklahoma flag," Rogers said. "Our Oklahoma flag is really in worse condition than the other was."