KENNEWICK -- Old Glory once again is flying in front of Ken Scherbarth's east Kennewick home, thanks to two Benton County sheriff's deputies.
For nearly 38 years, the 81-year-old has flown the American flag in front of his home. But sometime overnight Tuesday, someone stole the flag.
Scherbarth's wife, Jane, 75, said she noticed the flag was missing when she went out Wednesday morning to get the newspaper. It was the second time their flag had been stolen, she said.
"The first time they took the rope too," she said. "I can't figure it out. This is kind of a quiet street."
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She told Ken and he called police.
"I told them I didn't think it was very nice to swipe a flag from a veteran," said Ken, a Korean War veteran who also served three years in the Army National Guard.
Deputy Chris Fitzpatrick came to the Scherbarths' house to take the theft report. Ken said he knew there wasn't much deputies could do to recover the flag.
"There were no footprints or tire marks. There was nothing to go on," he said.
But what he didn't expect is that when Fitzpatrick left his house, the deputy went back to the station and took up a collection from other deputies to buy a new flag.
Fitzpatrick and Deputy Scott Hutson then returned to the Scherbarths' home at 718 E. 26th Ave. and surprised him with a new flag.
Ken and his wife said they were pleased by the unexpected visit. The deputies even helped put the flag back up on the pole that has been a fixture in front of the home since the couple were married.
"One of the first things I did when I moved in here was put the flag pole in," Ken said as he stood in his driveway looking at the flag pole surrounded by rocks and flowers.
Ken said he wanted to show his appreciation for the deputies, so he took out a paid classified ad in the Herald to thank them.
"Those guys were really good to me," Scherbarth said. "I thought I better do something because it doesn't happen every day."
Sheriff's Lt. Clay Vannoy said both deputies are military veterans -- Fitzpatrick was in the Army and Hutson served with the Coast Guard.
"It kind of exemplifies the type of people who work here," Vannoy said. "We're proud of our deputies who are veterans and we respect and appreciate all the veterans.
"They're both great guys and they're both great deputies," he added.
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; email@example.com