Douglas M. Coates appreciates veterans, and a garden display honoring them makes sure they know it.
Coates, who works in maintenance construction, is an Ohio native who most recently lived on Goblintown Road in Fairystone before he moved into the home of his fiancé, Pam Seager, on Mt. Olivet Road where it meets Chatham Road (Route 57), in March.
He served 12 years in the army, where “I tore my knee out, and I tore my shoulder out,” he said. However, his patriotism began well before his career in the military. When he was a child, he helped his hometown’s local VFW put out flags on holidays.
Coates served in the Army from 1981-85, and the National Guard from 1986-87. Then he was back in the Army from 1987-94.
“I was all around it but never went” to war, he said. Places he has been stationed include Korea, Panama and Alaska.
Four years ago, he created the design of a silhouette of a soldier crouched down with a rifle at a cross. Frank Woods of Calloway made it for him. That silhouette is in the background of the memorial display which also features more than a dozen small American flags, a large American flag and the flags of the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy.
No, the Marine Corps flag is not missing – it hangs at the home of veteran Bobby Parsons.
Coates is a member of AMVETS 35, and when a waitress told him that her father, Parsons, was a Marine and had been wanting a Marine Corps flag, Coates gave him his flag. He plans to get a replacement for it to be used in subsequent displays.
Seager’s father was in the Army Air Corps, so a flag representing that will be added in the future as well, he added.
Coates had erected military flag displays at his home in Fairy Stone, but Goblintown Road doesn’t get much traffic, he said; he is happy that more people can see it now on Mt. Olivet Road.
He first put up the display on Mt. Olivet Road around Memorial Day weekend.
He put the display back up on Thursday and plans to take it down at the end of the week. Next, he’ll put it up for Labor Day and then Veteran’s Day. Those displays will be enhanced further with pictures of his father and Seager’s father.
The display is not restricted to just holidays.
It probably also will be up for the weekend of the big Ohio State – Michigan game, he added with a grin. He roots for Ohio State, and Seagers, a Michigan native, will be rooting for Michigan.