JAY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — Weeks after a tornado touched down in Jay County leaving many homes severely damaged, a family is getting a piece of their home back.
“It’s kind of a reiteration that we are in one nation under God,” said Jay County homeowner Betsy Minnich. “Just seeing the flag being presented today and just seeing them fold it up encapsulates all of that.”
Matt and Betsy Minnich along with their family stood outside what remains of their former Jay County home Wednesday and received a new American flag from the Jay County Sheriff’ Department and local veterans from AM Vets.
After the tornado went through Jay County on June 18, Sergeant Derek Bogenschutz and Deputy Eric Smitley went out to make sure residents were safe and help with clean up. While on the Minnich’s property they found the family’s flag pole and flag had been knocked down due to the storm.
Bogenschutz and Smitley not only folded the flag but waited for the family to return home to give it back to them personally, something that brought tears to Matt and Betsy Minnich’s eyes.
“To my surprise, when I shared it with her she had the same reaction as me, a lot of honor that they wanted to be able to do that for us,” Matt Minnich said. “We are proud to fly ole glory.”
“The family had been through a lot especially with the loss of their property we just wanted to show a small appreciation for flying the flag in the first place,” said Sgt. Derek Bogenschutz.
“It was the right thing to do,” said Deputy Eric Smitley.
What the Minnich’s and the officers didn’t know was that a person took a picture of the flag folding and shared it on social media. Within a few hours, the pictures went viral landing the deputies on national tv.
That’s when veterans from the local AM Vets organization came together and decided to present the family with a new flag.
“It’s a flag,” said 1st commander for the department of Indiana AM Vets Lee Williams. “It’s not expensive but it’s ceremonial, it’s a show of respect. We wanted to show appreciation for them (Minnich) flying the flag.”
“I was raised with a respect to the flag,” said retired US Army Dr. Eric Aschendorf. “As a father, I raised my kids to respect the flag as well and with recent events, it’s nice to see others have the same respect for our flag.”
Minnich’s plan to keep the flag officers folded. They also told WANE 15 they hope that once their home has been repaired the flag they received will go up on a new flag pole.