TONASKET – George Frank was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from Afghanistan.
The package that came shortly thereafter left tears in his eyes.
Thanks to Mary Karrer, a Tonasket resident overseeing a construction project with the Army Corps of Engineers at Bagram Air Base, the Armed Forces Legacy Project is the proud recipient of an American flag flown on the Afghanistan base on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2011.
“I couldn’t believe I was talking to someone in Afghanistan,” Frank said. “She asked if she could send us a flag. She actually called my house. All I could say was, ‘Wow.’ It’s pretty touching.”
Mary Karrer’s husband Dan and eighth grade daughter Corrina said that Mary will likely be returning home soon after having worked in Afghanistan for the past six months. While there, she has “adopted” many of the soldiers as her own — something she’s always done as an adoptive and foster parent, Dan said.
“She was having us send flour, chocolate chips, baking soda to her,” he said. “I was like, ‘Really? You’re making cookies?’ She’s trying to give them a taste of home.
“No matter if we supported a particular war or not, we’ve always supported the boys, without question.”
While neither Dan nor Mary Karrer actually served in the military, three of their family do: Sgt. Anthony McGee and Cody Ferrier, both in the Army, and Sgt. Dane Griffin, a Marine.
Corrina said she intends to follow their lead.
“I’m really proud of them,” she said.
Dan Karrer said that people on the base could purchase flags to be flown there on Veterans Day and sent home. After being flown for a short time, the flags were brought down, folded and re-boxed by the soldiers. The flag is accompanied by certification that it was flown at Bagram Airfield specifically in honor of the Tonasket memorial.
“She ordered one for each of the kids but had one more,” he said. “She called and asked what she should do with the other one, and I suggested the Armed Forces Legacy Project.
“Next thing I know, I get a call from George thanking us for the flag. I didn’t even know she’d sent it yet. She tracked them down from Afghanistan.”
The flag was accompanied by the certificate and a letter from Mary Karrer.
“I had this flag flown 11/11/2011 in honor of all the men and women who serve, which I’m grateful for,” it reads. “I give this flag freely without reservations to the community that will always have strong convictions and faith. Thanks so much for allowing me and my family into your lives and for protecting us.”
Legacy Project president Roger Castelda said the flag will be kept in the yet-to-be-completed building at the Legacy site and be flown there on special occasions.
“It’ll be special to see,” Corrina Karrer said.