FPHOV volunteers arrive at the home of a surprised veteran.

By Marise Boehs

Flag Pole is succesfuly installed and flag raised.

They gathered at the OnCue in Yukon Sunday morning – a dozen motorcycles, a few cars and 21 volunteers preparing to surprise a veteran who had asked for a flag pole for his yard.

FPHOV volunteers arrive at the home of a surprised veteran.

The skies were overcast, a little windy and cold but nobody seemed to mind. It was the first install of the 2024 season and a chance to catch up with friends and comrades and do a thing they all love and believe in.

Flag Poles Honoring Our Veterans is a 501(c)3 organization established in 2020. Their mission is to touch as many veterans as possible throughout the state of Oklahoma. The organization is completely volunteer and runs solely on donations of materials and money from individual and corporate sponsors.
Any Oklahoma veteran who has been honorably discharged and owns his or her home can ask for a flag pole through an application on their website. (FPHOV.org FPHOV has installed 560 flag poles in the past 4 years.

“The Sunday before Veterans Day every year we do 22 flagpoles in one day in the awareness of the 22 Veterans we lose a day to suicide.”
Kevin Blake, Founder FPHOV

They honor 3-5 Veterans each Sunday from mid March through Christmas unless a holiday falls on Sunday.

The fourth Annual Veteran Appreciation cookout will be in October with live music and free food for all veterans who have received a flagpole. In the evening there is a flagpole retirement ceremony.

Founder Kevin Blake explained about the ceremony. “We collect tattered flags throughout the year and we have a burn barrel. We retire each flag and call out the name of family or friend Veterans that have passed with each flag. Then I bring the barrel home after it cools and collect the grommets and make key chains out of them. Our flag never dies.”

In his own words…

In December 2019 we were helping serve dinner at a local church (Yellow Rose in Moore) to families for kids less fortunate and would be given toys to be able to have a Christmas.

Founder Kevin Blake tells how FPHOV came about.

A gentleman walked up to me and asked if I was the guy down the street from him that has a flagpole and every holiday (4th of July, Memorial Day) I set flags out down my driveway and along my curbside. We figured out that I was. He said he is a Veteran, he has an Army flag and an American flag and had always wanted a flagpole.
We chatted and then went our way. That night it laid on my heart “why doesn’t that Veteran have a flagpole”. So the next day I went out and purchased a flagpole, a flag, solar light and all the materials to install it. I notified his wife and asked her to have him in their driveway at noon on Sunday 3 days before Christmas.
I posted what I was doing on Facebook and asked folks to be at my house at 11:30 am Sunday. We had 19 motorcycles and 9 cars show up – almost 40 people. I loaded the concrete and tools in my riding lawnmower trailer. His wife had him outside when he heard the bikes start up. He said he thought it was just me and my biker buddies heading out. Everyone followed me on my mower with 2 people carrying the pole and when we rounded the corner his tears started flowing. With everyone videoing, going Facebook live, saying what a great idea and why hasn’t this ever been thought of before. That night my wife said to me “I think every Veteran deserves a flagpole in their yard when they retire”.

I set out and created the name, got our 501c3, nonprofit and copyright to the name and logo. And in March of 2020 (even when Covid was starting up at the same time) we got started. Our first year we Honored 100 Veterans.

The next year we set a goal of 150 Veterans and met that goal. But as volunteers with full time jobs we felt a bit pressured so we did not set an amount goal after that. We just do as many as possible.