McGuire sends Marine vet flags after pole stolen from yard
The kindness of a local Republican state House candidate touched the heart of a Moline veteran who is still hoping his homemade pole and flag, stolen from his front porch late last month, will turn up, a local news report said.
"I get a little on the emotional side," Marine Corps veteran Keko Martinez said, recalling the reply he received from Brandi McGuire, the Republican candidate for the District 72 state House seat. "She didn't just give me a flag; she also gave me a Marine Corps flag."
Martinez's comments were part of a KWQC TV news interview earlier this week, following vandalism of political signs in his yard and the theft of his flag and its pole that he made during a discouraging period in his life.
“When I lost my job abruptly a year ago, I was depressed; the bills started piling up,” Martinez said. “I was on unemployment, we were barely making it and I needed something to motivate me.”
Martinez said he had a flag and decided to fashion his own flag pole from a broom stick.
"I put some car-hose clamps on it, and I had a hollow eagle," Martinez said during the interview, as he held up a gold-tone metal eagle. "It was kind of like this one, but it was hollow, and it fit perfect on the pole. And I put that pole up there, and I had a couple of clips on these clamps. Then I put the flag out. It's been motivating me ever since."
The flag and pole are more than just their parts, Martinez said.
"When you're a veteran, it means a lot, but when you're a war veteran, it really, really gets deeper," the Desert Storm veteran said.
A little more than a week ago, Martinez said someone stole the flag and the pole he made, following a time when campaign signs in his yard were vandalized and stolen.
“This is a low blow," Martinez said. "I just felt like whoever is doing this needs to stop it. They need to mind their own business.”
Martinez said he thought he was targeted for the vandalism and theft because of the signs in his yard. In addition to displaying a sign in support of McGuire, also in the yard are political signs for Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump; Tony McCombie, Republican candidate for the District 71 state House seat; and Patrick Harlan, Republican candidate for the District 17 U.S. House seat.
"It's sad, but it's a rude reality of the day that we live in," Martinez said. "When I came home, I'd fought a war, spent 26 years in the Marine Corps. I don't need this, and no one needs it, let alone a war veteran."
After the theft and vandalism, Martinez said he got in touch with McGuire.
McGuire responded to Martinez with a replacement political sign and the two flags, Martinez said.
Martinez clearly was delighted by the gesture, but said he still would like his own pole and flag returned.
“It probably would revive me quite a bit," Martinez said. "What’s it to them? Not much, but it’s a lot to me.”