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On February 17 the Veterans Flag Garden which has been hosted by the Volusia Mall and managed by Haven Hospice for the past 14 months will be decommissioned in a military ceremony at 10:30 a.m. and then disassembled due to building renovations. Veterans and family members can then make arrangements through Haven Hospice to pick up their flags.

“The Volusia County Veterans Council will be present at the ceremony on the 17th to ensure that the flags will be taken down properly,” said Haven Hospice Administrator Jordan Heaps. “Haven will continue to honor veterans at Haven Hospice and hopes that the Flag Garden can continue in some form in the future.”

Commander Roger Lee Tiffany of the Veterans Council of Volusia County has facilitated over 20 decommissioning ceremonies, but this is the first he’s done for a hospice that is honoring veterans. Tiffany said he is grateful that Haven Hospice gave the council the opportunity to help coordinate the garden and event. 

“The flag garden has been a great opportunity to recognize the contribution of the individuals who have fought to secure our freedom in this country,” said Tiffany, a former sergeant in the U.S. Army. “It is paramount that we not only respect the flags, but also the individuals that each one stands for.”

Tiffany plans to decommission the flags by keeping to traditions of the U.S. Army and properly honoring the display while staying hopeful for the recommissioning of the garden at a more appropriate time.

Many Haven Hospice volunteers have worked diligently on the Flag Garden at the Volusia Mall during the past 14 months to honor veterans of the community including: Deb Gormley,  program coordinator, Brenda Gormley, who  has put together over 1,000 flags and dog tags for placement in the garden; Margaret Burke, and her granddaughter, Scarlett Moran, who positioned and cared for the flags throughout the garden; Elsie Simpson, who created computer records of all flag information; and Kevin Reynolds, who constructed the garden.

Local businesses have supported the Flag Garden through sponsorship and include: John Whitten Choice Landscaping Inc., Slingerlands Nursery, Paul Holub Jr.of  Holub Development, Bill Nivarra Realty Pros Assured, Home Depot, Donnie Sikorski  of Sikorski Landscaping Inc., and Teri Kaspar Surplus Carpet. Individual financial supporters have been Marsha Pohl and Marvel Daniels

Flags that were placed by veterans or families can be picked up the day of the ceremony from noon to 7 p.m. For those who cannot attend the ceremony, flags will be distributed at three Haven Hospice offices during the week of March 3 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. For more information or to make arrangements to pick up flags, please go to www.havenhospice.org/veteransgarden or call 386.734.7600.