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Local family purchases new POW flag for Veterans Memorial Park
Local couple Michelle and Joe Clonts have purchased a new POW flag for Veterans Memorial Park in Dawson County. - photo by Erica Jones

Veterans Memorial Park will be getting a new POW flag to replace an aging one currently at the park, thanks to local couple Michelle and Joe Clonts. 

According to Michelle Clonts, she and her husband were out riding through the park over Memorial Day weekend when they noticed that the flags weren’t yet at half staff. 

“On that weekend, the president had requested that flags be at half staff for Memorial Day, so we went over to the flag to lower it,” Clonts said. “When we got up there, my husband noticed that the flag was tattered.”

According to Clonts, her husband Joe is a Navy veteran who served during Operation Desert Strike and a member of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, a group that does a lot of work to help veterans, so he is always on the lookout for ways to support and honor fellow veterans. 

Joe’s father served in the Navy, and Michelle’s father served in the Army, so looking out for fellow veterans is something that the couple always makes sure to uphold, according to Michelle.

“My husband has a huge heart when it comes to service and our country, and it just hurt his heart to see the old flag, so we reached out to Commissioner Chris Gaines to ask if we could buy a new one to replace it,” Michelle said. “So we have the new one and we’re gonna be taking it up there this week to meet with Matt Payne and change it out.”

Matt Payne, Parks and Recreation director for Dawson County said that it means a lot to the county to have citizens like Michelle and Joe Clonts. 

“They’re a super nice family and we’re extremely thrilled to have citizens that look out for our parks like that,” Payne said. 

The city had purchased a new flag for the park as well, but the one the Clonts family purchased will be the one installed at Veterans Memorial Park. The one purchased by the city will go to replace the old one at Rock Creek Park, which also needs to be replaced. 

Buying the new flag for the park is a gesture that the Clonts family was more than happy to do, the couple said. 

“I’ve lived in Dawson County my whole life, we love our country and we love our little hometown, so we’re always looking out for our little town,” Michelle Clonts said. 

According to Joe, the display at Veterans Memorial Park is important for many reasons. 

“We love the monument,” Joe Clonts said, “and we hope that when people drive by it they’ll see it and remember what it’s all about.”