Photo by Ted Lutz â€“ Doug Zaffino (right), president of the Gibbs Hill Cemetery near Ludlow, points to the sheared off section of a flagpole stolen last weekend. Looking on in disgust is Alan Boyd (left) of Kane. Thieves also stole another nearby flagpole and the U.S. flag flown on the main flagpole at the cemetery.
LUDLOW â€“ Unpatriotic thieves have stolen two aluminum flagpoles at the Gibbs Hill Cemetery near Ludlow.
The families of Tom VanGiesen and Frank Sirianni of Kane donated the flagpoles in honor of Staff Sgt. Kenneth R. VanGiesen. The Kane native was killed last year in Afghanistan while serving with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
The soldier was the son of Tom and Sue VanGiesen of Lincoln Street, Kane. The soldier was the longtime girlfriend of Erin Sirianni, daughter of Frank and Sherry Sirianni of Highland Road, Kane.
"We erected the flagpoles to honor Ken," Tom VanGiesen said. "But the flagpoles were a tribute to all military veterans buried there and those still living."
The soldier is buried in a family plot in the cemetery. The flagpoles were erected earlier this year in time for the Memorial Day program at the cemetery.
"They were ignorant," VanGiesen said in describing the thieves. "It would be different if the flagpoles were in my front yard. The flagpoles at the cemetery honored our veterans."
VanGiesen said five 20-foot aluminum flagpoles were purchased from the Valley Forge Flag Company. Two were installed at the cemetery. One went to Erin SirianniÂ for her home in Erie. Two others went to VanGiesen's other children-- Aimee Gullifer of Kane and Matt of Washington state.
The poles have a two-inch diameter. One flagpole at the cemetery carried a black MIA/POW flag donated by the Kane Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
See full article by purchasing the Aug. 9 edition of The Kane Republican.