The new American flag now flying in the Bulldog Run circle drive at Rolla High School has a special meaning to one of the school’s teachers.
Nancy Lowrey, a social science teacher at RHS, donated the flag to the school Monday as part of the school’s Veterans Day activities.
The flag was used to cover the casket of her brother, Staff Sgt. Gary Hemsath, who died after being involved in a hit-and-run accident while serving overseas in the military nearly 40 years ago.
Lowrey kept the flag ever since her brother died Dec. 22, 1975, and recently decided to donate the flag.
“I thought, let’s do something with this,” Lowrey said. She contacted RHS Principal Dr. Jim Pritchett and Gavin Cohen, of Boy Scout Troop 83.
Color guard members of the troop raised the new flag during a ceremony Monday afternoon at the flagpole on Bulldog Run.
They dedicated the flag to all of the country’s servicemen who fought for their country as well as the faculty, staff and students at RHS.
Boy Scouts Gavin Cohen, Christopher Cates, William Craighead, Nathaniel Moore, Caleb Cook and Theron Schesky all took part in the ceremony.
Hemsath was 29 years old when he died.
According to Lowrey, Hemsath enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967. He completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood and later went to Fort Carson, Colo.
Hemsath then was sent overseas to Korea and later to West Germany. He was a company clerk in the 2nd Infantry Indianhead Division. Lowrey also was a Boy Scout and earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
Lowrey said one night, Hemsath was driving home from work when his car broke down. He was hit by a car and died a week later, she said. Lowrey was 19 years at the time of her brother’s death.
“I admired his integrity, his honesty and his quirky sense of humor,” Lowrey said.
Lowrey has been at RHS for 18 years.