Honoring those who have served
On September 21, 1991, at a luncheon in Des Moines, Governor Terry Branstad awarded Belva Yoss of North English a plaque that honored her as Iowa County’s Volunteer Hall of Fame winner for the year.
Prior to that year, Belva worked industriously on the idea of creating the “Avenue of Flags” at the North English Cemetery that is displayed every May at Memorial Day time. Ethel Casteel nominated Belva for the award and wrote, in the nominating essay, about Belva’s vision and hard work as she appealed to the community to honor those men and women who had defended our country.
As a member of the Veterans of Foreign War Auxiliary Post 5512 in North English, Belva formed a committee in the late spring of 1990, and they gathered support that summer and had a “trial run” showing 35 flags on August 15-17 to arouse community interest. Lots of people loved the look, and the support began.
The annual display in May now presents over 150 flags, and it has become a strong source of community pride, thanks to the foresight and perseverance of Belva Yoss.
In recent years, Arnold and Janice Carter, Dean Cartwright, Winston Claypool, Ken Donahue, Mike Elwood, Richard Henson, Bob Huber, Gary Miller, Lyle Miller, Lynn and Sherry Moffit, Reid Ostenberg, Charles “Chod” Wilkerson, Robert “Butch” Wilkerson, and Arland Wyant have been among the volunteers who help display the flags each spring.
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