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Poland resident places flags around community
April 1, 2020

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Whether in pouring rain or in the afternoon sunshine, Jeff Vrable Jr. may be seen in the Poland community, flags in tow.

Following Gov. Mike DeWine's request to fly flags as we wait out the coronavirus pandemic, Vrable wasted no time decorating his neighborhood with Old Glory.

Installing 85 miniature flags in about 25 minutes, Vrable said it didn't take long until he got a request to add more of the patriotic symbols.

"I got a call to do another neighborhood," he said on Thursday afternoon.

At his home in Poland, Vrable flies two flags, one in the front yard and one behind the house at half-mast each day, because "we have veterans that die every day. We have soldiers that die in war each day," he said.

As he lined up the small flags in front yards, Vrable said the flags are free.

Residents don't have to return the flags, he said. "Anyone that asks, they get to keep it."

Each year, the Veterans Service Commission of Mahoning County allocates groups so many flags.

As there are oftentimes leftover flags, they are taken to American Legion locations for events.

"One thing they tell you, if you have any extra, use them in the community," Vrable said.

After the governor asked Ohio residents to fly their flags, Vrable began his mission.

The 20-year-old comes from a patriotic family.

Grandfather Joe was the district commander for the Sons of the American Legion of the 9th district. His father, also Joe, was state commander. Young Vrable is now vying for that post.

"I was born into this," Vrable said.

Supporting the United States, he wanted to join the Army, but was unable to due to a peanut allergy.

Still, he's hopeful he can one day serve his country, perhaps in the National Guard.

His work doesn't stop at yards. Vrable also recognizes veterans at his employment.

Vrable, who works at the Inn at Poland Way, fashioned a wall dedicated to service members that live at the home, complete with service photos and a flag on a wall.

One man, he said, makes it a point to tell everyone his photo is on the wall.

"They love it," he said of the residents.

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