NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Marine Corps veteran wanting a flagpole probably provided a group of high school seniors their best civic lesson yet.
"It's a big deal for me, so I just didn't want to order some flagpole from somewhere," said Scott Massey, a Marine veteran. "I thought how cool would it be to have local kids make it."
"He said I'll pay for it, you know, but we needed to get it to where it was all donated," said Walter York, an agriscience teacher for Woden ISD.
The school donated a rusty flagpole.
"They cleaned it up, painted it," York said.
Fortunately, it isn't any longer than a school bus.
Lowe's and McCoy's readily donated the hardware and Redi-mix concrete. Wal-Mart provided an American and Texas flag. The total cost was just over the store donation limit. Without hesitation an employee paid the difference.
"People in this community are wonderful when it comes to helping vets," York said.
Massey saved for weeks to pay for his order. On Tuesday, he stopped by to settle up. He was told to keep his cash.
"I don't get choked up very easy, but I got a little choked up yesterday and that's just the truth. It just renews your faith in people," Massey said.
As the flag pole was being raised, Massey said, "Looks like Iwo Jima here."
The project taught some already level-headed teens that a strong foundation of patriotism is worthy.
"It's important because he fought for it," said Seth Rustin, a Woden ISD student. "That was his purpose. He was fighting for United States of America."
"For freedom," added Jaren Whitton, another Woden ISD student.
The significance is deeply personal for the infantryman who caught every conflict since 1988.
"A lot of people won't be able to come home and have something like that," Massey said. "That is what that's all about. For everybody who didn't come home."
This man knows he's one of the fortunate ones. Today the next generation fulfilled his life even more.
"I can't thank you enough man," Massey said. "I waited a long, long time for this."
Massey said he plans to install lights to shine on his new flagpole. Also in the works, is a brisket dinner for the Woden agriscience class.