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Patriotic Local Residents Stand United in Support of Flag Endowment

Working together on an endowment to keep the American flag flying high over Pennsylvania College of Technology's main entrance are, from left, Kirstie and Jim Bower; Tony DiSalvo, a driving force in local patriotic activities; William J. Martin, the college's senior vice president; and artist Fred Gilmour. The group - including the Bowers' daughters (Rachel, left, and Hailey) - met near the base of the 1,800-square-foot landmark Thursday. Artistry, allegiance and an abiding spirit of community converged this week beneath Pennsylvania College of Technology’s majestic 1,800-square-foot Old Glory, where the contributions of local residents helped ensure “Long may she wave.”

A community landmark since its installation in November 2000, the flag is maintained by a local committee that includes college Senior Vice President William J. Martin and Anthony L. DiSalvo, organizer of the annual God, Country and Community Flag March. Disparate images coalesce under artist's vision, creating a fluid portrait of patriotism

In a public appeal issued upon the flag’s 10th anniversary last fall, the two men noted the expense of maintaining and replacing the flag and invited the community’s involvement in creating a permanent endowment fund to keep the Stars and Stripes flying.

Among those inspired by the call was artist Fred Gilmour, a former member of the Penn College faculty, who drew upon an archive of his photographs to create a mosaic titled “United We Stand.” Channeling Andy Warhol and comprising 20 separate images of the flag in full flutter, Gilmour’s rendition was donated to the Williamsport-Lycoming County Flag Committee as a fundraiser toward the endowment.

Signed and numbered prints of Gilmour’s work soon will be available at B&S Picture Frames to help defray maintenance costs for the college’s flag, which is part of the national Flags Across America initiative to place a similar symbol in every U.S. county.

Print No. 1 will be donated to Jim and Kirstie Bower and their daughters, Rachel and Hailey, who also moved to action by the committee’s appeal bought a replacement flag for the Penn College site.

DiSalvo met the Bower girls several years ago while handing out small flags at a polling station, a lasting impression that ultimately resulted in the family’s generous gift to mark the flag’s 10th anniversary.

The Bowers joined Gilmour, Martin and DiSalvo at the Student and Administrative Services Center on Thursday for an informal “Thank you” for their contribution.

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