The program that displays U.S. flags on 13 federal holidays along Old Betsy Road in Keene was featured in the the August issue of “Texas Co-op Power,” a publication of United Cooperative Services.
The flag program, known as Old Glory for Old Betsy, uses volunteers to place 366 flags on 11-foot poles along Keene’s main thoroughfare. On June 13, Jeff Pannell, United’s business development manager and a member of the Keene Chamber board of directors, arranged for United employees to assist with installing the flags.
The story, written and photographed by Cassidy Carey, appears on Page 23 of the magazine.
The flag program began in 1995 when longtime Keene resident and business owner Brady Rusk began placing U.S. flags along Old Betsy Road on holidays and special occasions, Using his own funds, he purchased, installed and stored about 20 flags.
Now, 27 years later, the flag program ,has grown to 366 flags and is operated by the Keene Chamber of Commerce and managed by Yddo Ortiz, another longtime resident and business owner.
More than 215 people, mostly Keene residents, have purchased a flag or multiple flags in honor or memory of a loved one or friend.
The flag installation process is a large undertaking, with Keene Police officers controlling traffic while representatives of various Keene businesses or educational institutions install the flags.
The flags are placed inside a buried sleeve positioned along Old Betsy Road.
The flags are displayed on Memorial Day, Veterans’ Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Flag Day, Presidents’ Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Sept. 11, Dec. 7, and special events such as Ride 2 Recovery, dignitary visits and special occasions by request.
The Keene Chamber of Commerce is responsible for raising money to maintain the flags, storing and protecting them, maintaining the sleeves, insuring and licensing the flag trailers, and organizing the installation ceremonies.
A flag costs $75, which includes flag, pole and installation sleeve.
To purchase a flag or donate to the Old Glory for Old Betsy program, contact the Keene Chamber of Commerce office at 817-556-2995 or Yddo Ortiz at 817-517-4650.