To members of the Sons of Mischief Motorcycle Club, Orange County chapter, an American Motorcycle Association club, many of their friends and family members are either actively serving or have served in the military.

So the Flags of our Heroes Memorial at the intersection of Texas Avenue and  East Roundbunch Road is sacred ground to club members, according to Ramona Hanson, that’s why they take care of the memorial such as cleaning and doing yard work.

President Rick Hanson, Brett Bean, sergeant-at-arms and member Jamie Bean said they do maintenance every year. This year was no different as the club performed maintenance in late May including climbing up the flag poles to make repairs.

“We do this every year,” Rick said. “The memorial site started in 2006. We had three flags. We’ve added more flag poles for the different services and revamped them. We have an Army statue and a Marine statue there and we pressure washed the statues.”

One member who shimmied up the flag pole was Tommy Woodcock who replaced a bad rope and clip on the POW and Texas flags. Rick and Steve Ringer also made the climb to make repairs.

“They took the time to do it,” Ramona said. “Most bikers are veterans.”

She added the Sons of Mischief also have a guardian angel at the memorial.

A local church member who wishes to remain anonymous regularly uses his time, his mower and his gasoline to mow the lawn at the memorial for no compensation. He’s been doing this since Hurricane Ike.

He told the motorcycle club his son is a Marine.

Other people sometimes stop by to lend a hand when the Sons of Mischief are working at the memorial.

“It’s (the Flags of our Heroes Memorial) a daily reminder of what’s going on in the world and a daily reminder of our servicemen and women,” Ramona said.

In a prior Record article, the first Home for the Holidays kicked off at the Flags of our Heroes Memorial grounds on Sunday Dec. 16, 2006. Local veterans and their families came together to decorate and light a Christmas tree in honor of the active duty military from here and for veterans everywhere.

The idea for the Flags of our Heroes Memorial came from Ramona Henson of Bridge City. She was inspired by her father, Donald Vetter of Wisconsin. Her brother is a veteran too. Her father was a U.S. Marine and her brother was in the U.S. Navy.

Once the idea came to her in 2005, she started researching who owned the property on the corner of East Roundbunch and Texas Avenue. She chose the spot because “a lot of people see it,” she said. She wanted to “get some color out there on the grounds.”

Cleaning the corner initially was a big job.

“The first time I cleaned up, I picked up 12 bags of garbage,” she said.

Eventually after her work was done, the grounds were transformed from a street corner into the memorial there today.

The Flags of our Heroes organization’s first function was a link sale in early March 2007 to raise money to fund the new grounds. Fundraisers, along with many donations from local companies and veterans, made this dream a reality. Five flags fly on the property. There are flags representing the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and the Coast Guard. Farther in front of those, the United States flag flies, along with the Texas and POW/MIA flags. Underneath the Texas flag, a flag honoring The Patriot Guard flies. Ramona said she received multiple calls asking about The Patriot Guard’s services since she hung the flag.

Some friends mentioned putting up a tree and Henson wanted to find a way to remind the community that there were still men and women in Iraq who couldn’t be home for Christmas. The tree was put up to honor them and all veterans.

She wanted a patriotic-themed tree with red, white and blue.

A local veteran, Charles “Chuck” Sipes, served in the Army and spent 13 months in Iraq before separating from the Army in late 2004.

“The time, hard work, and dedication put into this memorial means a lot. It’s very positive for the community,” he said. “It’s right on the corner of the busiest intersection in the city and it makes us [the veterans] hard to forget because so many people see it. It shows the city’s appreciation for the immediate and long-lasting sacrifices that our soldiers make.”

This memorial honors all soldiers and veterans, whether they have been to war or not. Ramona said the memorial is there for the soldiers, veterans and their families. She doesn’t want people to forget that a soldier’s family also sacrifices on a day-to-day basis.

“People are so involved in what they’ve got going themselves, they tend to forget,” she said.

Photo – Members of the Sons of Mischief Motorcycle Club, Orange County chapter, cleaned and performed maintenance at the Flags of our Heroes Memorial at the intersection of Texas Avenue and East Roundbunch Road. Some members even climbed up some flagpoles to make some repairs.

COURTESY PHOTO