Flagpoles stolen from Ludlow cemetery are recovered

LUDLOW – Two memorial flagpoles—stolen earlier this month from the Gibbs Hill Cemetery near Ludlow—were recovered Monday morning.The flagpoles were found among tall vegetation in a wooded area just across the road from the cemetery.High weeds on an embankment along the road obscured vision of the site where the toppled flagpoles were located.John Eckstrom, a laborer with the Hamilton Township road crew, spotted the shaft of one of the flagpoles Monday morning. He and Township Roadmaster “Dutch” Davidson were working on a project near the cemetery entrance.“I thought I saw part of a pole,” Eckstrom said in explaining his discovery. He said he was surprised because he “figured those flagpoles would be gone.”Tom and Sue VanGiesen and Frank and Sherry Sirianni of Kane donated the two 20-foot aluminum flagpoles to honor Staff Sgt. Kenneth VanGiesen. The Kane native was killed last year in Afghanistan while serving with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Erin Sirianni of Kane was his long-time girlfriend.The two-inch memorial flagpoles were erected on either side of the main flagpole at the cemetery in time for the annual memorial day program in May. The black MIA/POW flag, donated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Kane, was flown on one of the new flagpoles. The state flag, donated by State Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren), was flown on the other.Both flags were still attached to the stolen flagpoles recovered Monday.Thieves also took the large American flag from the main flagpole. This desecrated flag also was found intact near the missing flagpoles.With the assistance of Davidson and Eckstrom, Doug Zaffino, president of the Gibbs Hill Cemetery, temporarily put the damaged stolen flagpoles back in place.See full article by purchasing the Aug. 14 edition of The Kane Republican.