Banners of Strength
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — Neighborly conversations can take lives of their own.
Take, for instance, the time Carl Jacob recently chatted up his next-door neighbor, Bryan Bjorklund.
“He’s a history teacher, you know,” Jacob said of Bjorklund, who teaches at Charles City High School where he’s also the varsity head football coach on the verge of entering his second season leading the Comets.
“And we just got to talking about things.”
One of the things that Jacob, a member of the Charles City Lions Club, enlightened Bjorklund about was the “history” of the club’s Flags Over Charles City project that grants the citizens of Charles City an opportunity to show their patriotic spirit by offering them a United States of America Flag to be placed in their yards on specific patriotic days throughout the year.
The days include Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veterans Day. Another day was added last week (July 27) allowing residents to display their patriotism for the RAGBRAI bicyclists staying overnight and passing through town.
From the Jacob-Bjorklund conversation came a brainstorm that maybe some of that patriotism can adorn the school’s spanking-new weight room.
Jacob later floated the idea to the CC Lion’s Club current president Craig Hamm and former president Dean Tjaden.
“And it just kinda steamrolled from there,” Bjorklund said.
On Wednesday, the Charles City Lions Club formally donated four flags to grace the said weight room. They include the United States of America Flag, the Iowa Flag, the newly designed Charles City Flag, and the Prisoner of War-Missing in Action Flag.
They won’t likely go unnoticed considering the increased traffic the weight room has been experiencing.
“We’ve had far more kids using the weight room than we did at this point last year,” Bjorklund said.
The upgrade might have something to do with that.
Have to admit when walking through the old gym’s theater/student section stage on the way to what used to be the Comet Wrestling Room that I wasn’t expecting too much. But the new weight room’s ample and strategic spacing, and added equipment — including power racks, olympic-style lifting platforms, free weights and kettlebells — make the old weight room seem weaker than Kent Tekulve.
“This is where winning starts,” Bjorklund said.
And where historic banners are honored.