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Alabama organization raises flag for New Mexico war hero

In this Thursday, May 18, 2017 photo, Hiroshi Miyamura, center, watches as Ken Reige, left, helps Jamie Popwell and Brantley Cargill of Flags for Vets raise a flag on a new flagpole at Miyamura's home in Gallup, N.M. Gallup neighbors can now recognize the house of Miyamura by the new flag pole erected in front of his house. The Flag for Vets organization installed Miyamura's new flag with lights so he won't have to take it down each day. (Cable Hoover/Gallup Independent via AP)

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — Neighbors can now recognize the house of a local American hero by new flag pole put up in front of his house.

An Alabama organization travelled to Gallup, New Mexico last month to raise the flag in recognition of Korean War Veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, the Gallup Independent reported (http://bit.ly/2qQrazF ).

The 91-year-old veteran said he has always wanted to fly an American flag in front of his home, but he worried that putting the flag up and down each day would become too hard for him.

The Flag for Vets organization installed Miyamura’s new flag with lights so it could fly at any time of day.

Founder and Marine Corps veteran Jamie Popwell started the organization in January after he lost his job. It began as a small effort to raise flags for veterans who live in Popwell’s hometown of Auburn. The operation has expanded since. Popwell recruited Navy Veteran Brantley Cargill to help him.

Popwell estimates the organization has raised 58 flag across Alabama and the South.

“When we place these flags, the veterans don’t feel like a nobody. There is someone who cares about you,” Popwell said. “When we tell the veterans the cost of this flag was borne by an absolute stranger, that’s even more touching.”

The volunteer work has become a type of therapy for the pair.

“It has been therapeutic in the effort,” Cargill said. “We both served in the military, we both served in law enforcement and we all have struggles about the things we have done. So this is a chance to administer our own therapy. There is a common bond that they understand and we understand.”

The organization plans to return to the area in the future to recognize more New Mexico veterans.

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Information from: Gallup Independent, http://www.gallupindependent.com

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