‘This is what The American Legion is’
(Hannah Curran/Trussville Tribune)

‘This is what The American Legion is’

The city of Trussville, Ala., is one of the fastest-growing areas in the Birmingham region. With that growth has come the need for expansion and renovation within Trussville City Schools (TCS).

So when the Trussville Veterans Committee – headed by SSG MW Hosey Post 205 member Chad Carroll in nearby Pinson – heard that as a result of additions to the schools, 90 U.S. flags were needed to place in every new classroom and staff room, it wanted to help out.

And Carroll knew where to turn to for assistance with the effort: the membership at Post 205, which agreed to purchase all 90 flags, as well as the brackets for each one.

“Our schools and our city are growing so fast,” said the 31-year-old Carroll, who serves on Post 205’s executive committee and is president of the Trussville Veterans Committee. “They’re adding new classrooms. They just opened up a new administrative building. We said, ‘Hey, with all this new stuff you’re opening up, how many flags will you need to ensure there’s a flag in every classroom and every office?’”

When the school system came up with the number, the veterans committee wanted to partner with Post 205 to make the flag delivery happen. The post offered to cover the costs for the project.

“We want to get out into our schools and let them know, ‘Hey, this is what The American Legion is. This is what they do. These are the programs they offer,’” Carroll said. “We thought this was the best way to get our foot into the door to start going into the schools. With COVID kind of coming down, our schools just started opening up to let visitors in. We thought this would be a great way to let them know who we are.”

The flags were presented May 6 at Cahaba Elementary School, delivered by Post 205 Legionnaire Brent Goodwin in his Korean War Willys Jeep with an escort from Chapter 205’s American Legion Riders.

Carroll, a master sergeant in the Alabama Air National Guard, wanted to add a special touch to the flags, so he had them flown on a KC-135 refueling mission out of the 117th Air Refueling Wing in Birmingham, which is Carroll’s unit. Each member of the flight crew signed a certificate that also was presented with a picture of the plane to the school board. And Carroll and the committee also presented TCS Superintendent Dr. Patti Neill, whose father served in World War II, with a special flag to hang in their new administrative office.

Carroll delivered remarks during the ceremony, saying, “There’s a lot of stuff going on in our country right now – a lot of good things, a lot of bad things. But we’re still the greatest country in the world, and that’s what I want our students, our faculty and our visitors to know. By flying that flag, we’re still the land of the free. It shows our strength, our opportunity, our freedom as a country, and that’s what I want our students to know when they come into the classroom.”