Myron Havrilchak was among thousands whose houses and property in southeast Connecticut were substantially damaged by tornadoes that recently swept through the area.
And yet, when a Tennessee Baptist disaster relief team arrived at Havrilchak’s residence in Southbury, they quickly realized something was on his mind that meant more to him than brick and mortar.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Havrilchak proudly flies a flag in his backyard. But the storms had destroyed his flagpole and the 86-year-old was focused, with the heart of a soldier, on rectifying the problem.
“When we got to his house, he was more concerned about not being able to properly celebrate Memorial Day [which was two days away] than he was about the trees in his yard,” said Larry Sharp, a member of the DR team from East Tennessee that deployed to Connecticut. “So, we went to a hardware store, we purchased a piece of pipe, took it back to his house and drove it in the ground.”
Sharp said raising the flag amid the destruction and devastation in Havrilchak’s yard brought to mind the iconic image of the soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima.
After the flag was erected, Havrilchak joined the DR team for a brief ceremony in the yard during which they said the Pledge of Allegiance and saluted the flag. Several of the team members were moved to tears, as was Havrilchak.
“It was beautiful,” Havrilchak said in a subsequent phone interview. “I really loved it. I had to cry. I didn’t cry when I was young, but now that I am old, I cry.”
In addition to replacing the flag, the DR team — which included Gary Brooks (team leader), Ray Vanyo, Rick Taylor, Chris VanLoon, Jeff Landsdown, James Wade, Linda Wade, Amy Jones, Patricia Scott and Sharp — also made repairs to Havrilchak’s home.
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Source: Baptist Press