At the western gateway to Saline stands Wellers, the converted mill that now hosts weddings and special events. Rising above Wellers is a tall flag pole displaying Old Glory.
According to local veterans George Perrault and Tim Driscoll, it is the tallest flagpole and the largest flag - in proper proportion - in the City of Saline. Rules of flag etiquette provide general guidelines for the relative size of flag and pole, one factor being that it should be possible to fly the flag at half-mast in times of mourning without it touching the ground.
The Wellers used to display a flag on the pole, but quit doing so, because the flags wore out quickly and were expensive to replace. The local veterans wanted to see it displayed again.
George Perrault, who in 2012 had helped lead a project to display the flag at Oakwood Cemetery, again took the initiative to make sure the flag was flown at Wellers. After obtaining permission from the Wellers, Perrault and Driscoll started a fund-raising effort through GoFundMe.
“Within three days, the appeal was pulled from GoFundMe as four members of Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 310, came forward and made donations,” Perrault said. “Of special mention were Steve and Shirley Hitte of Milan who made a very generous contribution which took the project over the top.”
In addition to the above contributors, a thank you goes out to a United States Air Force Colonel, a U-M graduate, who recently served a tour in Afghanistan. This allowed putting some extras in the project.”
A sturdy flag of this size cost a little over $100, and Perrault was able to buy two of them. He also replaced the 120 feet of cord for raising the flag.
About 13 months ago Perrault and Driscoll raised the first flag. A few weeks ago, they took it down because it had become too worn and tattered.
On March 21, the pair raised the second flag that now proudly flies atop the pole. It is a welcome site to patriotic travelers on U.S. 12 as they enter or leave the city.
They are not planning on another fund-raising campaign. Instead they are hoping that local citizens will let the management of Wellers (Wellers2@aol.com) know they appreciate seeing this flag near a gateway to the city and that they will be motivated to keep it flying.
Perrault served two tours of duty with the Navy in Vietnam starting in April 1965. Before this deployment he had served as part of the honor guard when the body of John F. Kennedy was lying in state in the Capitol rotunda.
Tim Driscoll served during the Vietnam era, but was deployed in Germany. In 2016, he received the Orrin Parsons Distinguished Veteran Award in the Saline Salutes program.