Let there be light!

By Becky Fitzgerald on June 8, 2017
Arriving home to Meadowlark Hills one night after flying into Manhattan’s airport, Anna Walsh, apt. 408, noticed something amiss as she looked toward the visitors’ entrance. Our American flag, which flies daily from a pole near the circle drive, was hanging in darkness.
Seeing this, she remembered a poorly lit flag that had spurred her husband to action several years ago. A member of the Kiwanis club in Council Grove, he led an effort to bring a poorly lit flag into the light.
“The club was in charge of the upkeep at a park, and there was a flag at the park entrance,” recalled Anna, also a Kiwanis member. “A nearby street light was lighting the flag, and people there thought the street light was adequate, but Gordon said ‘No, it isn’t.’”
Col. Gordon P. Walsh served 31 years in the U.S. Army, completing two tours of duty in Vietnam. A Purple Heart recipient, he served in many capacities including as a battalion commander. Gordon took his concern for the hard-to-see Stars and Stripes to his Kiwanis club, and the club made sure a spot light was hung.
“It was important to Gordon that that flag have light,” Anna said.   
With thoughts of Gordon and the bright outcome for the Council Grove flag in mind, Anna asked staff about a light for Meadowlark’s flag. She learned a bulb had burnt out in an existing fixture. A new bulb was inserted, but Anna was disappointed the light’s beam showed off the pole, not the flag. Even after an adjustment to the fixture, light beams didn’t quite reach the flag.
“I felt strongly that there should be light on the flag, and I had the energy to pursue this,” she said.
Anna said she shared her concern about the flag’s inadequate lighting with Building and Grounds Committee member Sue Hunt, and Sue promptly offered to take the issue to the next committee meeting. Hearing the concern, Environmental Services Director Mike Davis had an electrician assess the issue. After an offer from Anna to contribute to the cause, a spot light was hung a few weeks prior to Memorial Day.
According to Mike, the previous fixture scattered light over a wide area, diminishing the light that actually reached the flag. The new fixture, mounted on the portico at the visitors’ entrance, shines a small beam of light directly on the flag. A photocell sensor turns the light on at dusk and off at dawn. Anna said her donation to cover the cost of the light and its installation is a memorial to Gordon.
“I’m really happy, and everybody was nice to work with,” Anna said. “I’d like to acknowledge my neighbors, Fred and Mertyce Rohles and Pat Murray, who encouraged me as I worked with staff  on the project.”