Eyeing Independence Day: Neighborhood raises flag to honor veterans service across community

By Noah Alatza

The 168-unit Mapleton neighborhood grassy common area is at the corner of 169th Street and Oak Ridge Road near the Countryside neighborhood entrance. It has been a launch site for innovative projects.

From left, Walt Deeter, HOA vice president of buildings and maintenance and veteran, and HOA Treasurer Jason LaPaliag, raise a flag to honor veterans in the Mapleton neighborhood. (Submitted photo)

Mapleton’s Board President MJ Fazio said it all started three years ago.

“We put up a little mobile library. (It is) registered and operational today,” she said. “Following the completion of the library, we have added planters, flowers, a handmade round oak chair, among many others projects.”

According to Fazio, the library was the first of it’s kind in Hamilton County.

The Homeowners Association consists of five members in Mapleton, headed by Fazio.

“One of our members wanted a bench to sit by the library so people could read at it, so a volunteer made a bench,” Fazio said. “We stoned the area and cleaned it up very nicely.”

A tree and metal bench are just a few of the items donated by residents. Several volunteers, including Kim Freeman and Dan Selear, a military veteran, have performed countless hours of labor, Fazio said. On June 12, residents of Mapleton completed another project with the installation of a telescopic flag pole with a solar light on top.

“This is all about honoring our vets and supporting our country,” Fazio said. “We invited veterans for the opening, nine of which live here at Mapleton.”

Fazio said thanking veterans for their service is something that should not be taken for granted.

“We (need to) thank (veterans) for their service, as we have a country in a lot of turmoil right now,” she said. “But we wanted this to show hope, that we really want things to get better.”

Fazio said she is unsure if any more projects are on the horizon.

“It is very hard to say at this point,” she said. “I am sure I have wore out my committee, but once someone is inspired to do it and we get volunteers to work on something, that is what really makes this whole operation complete. We simply just lucked out.”

The flag itself will not be removed until Veteran’s Day in November. The flag pole’s fate has yet to be determined.