Mother of fallen firefighter hoping for return of stolen commemorative flag

These two flags were reported stolen from a residence on Spruce Street in Cedar City, Utah between July 5 and July 6, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Gayemarie Ekker, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — The mother of a Cedar City man who died while fighting a wildfire in Arizona six years ago is holding out hope for the return of a recently stolen flag honoring his memory.

Gayemarie Ekker said she put out her flagpole for the Fourth of July holiday, as she customarily does. The pole was adorned with the U.S. flag, along with a smaller, red and yellow flag commemorating the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, who were killed while fighting a wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona, on June 30, 2013. Ekker’s son Joe Thurston was of the 19 firefighters who died in the blaze.

Read more: Cedar City man among Granite Mountain Hotshots, perished in Arizona wildfire

Ekker said she received the custom flag on the first anniversary of the tragedy, giving it special sentimental value. She is hoping that whoever took it will return it, no questions asked.

“We have an American flag we will be happy to give you,” she added in a Facebook post addressed to the thief.

Hand-lettered cardboard sign pleading for the return of two flags reported stolen from a residence on Spruce Street in Cedar City, Utah between July 5 and July 6, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Gayemarie Ekker, St. George News / Cedar City News

“Since the two flags are attached to the pole, I’d really like to have them both back and trade them a brand new American flag,” Ekker told Cedar City News by way of clarification.

Ekker said Sunday night there have not yet been any solid leads as to the whereabouts of the flags, which are mounted with screws onto a metal pole painted gold. The flags were stolen from near the corner of 895 South and Spruce Street in Cedar City sometime between Friday evening and 9:15 a.m. Saturday, she said.

On Saturday, Ekker said she placed a cardboard hand-lettered sign out where the flags were posted, asking for them to be returned. She weighted down the sign with a cinder block, only to discover Sunday afternoon that the cinder block had also been stolen.

“Not too encouraging,” she said.

Cedar City Police Department posted notice of the flag theft on its Facebook page Saturday afternoon and asked anyone with information to please contact officer Heather Daynes at 435-586-2956 and reference case number C19-02303.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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