Governor Bentley sends state flag to soldier, changes policy - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Governor Bentley sends state flag to soldier, changes policy

Sgt. Howard Blake Jr. Sgt. Howard Blake Jr.
Sgt. Howard Blake Jr. Sgt. Howard Blake Jr.

An Alabama soldier will soon get a state flag to fly while serving in Afghanistan.

WAFF 48 News spoke with Sergeant First Class Howard Blake Jr. on Tuesday. He said he had emailed Governor Bentley's office to request a stand flag to fly at his camp near Kandahar.

The governor's office refused and said the state could not afford it.

Blake said a lot of people contacted him after hearing his story. He is making plans for all the flags being sent to him in the combat zone.

"As soon as I got the emails that we received earlier, I made plans so that every Alabama solider here in our battalion would have one. Our battalion has more than 800 plus personnel with 60 being from Alabama," he said.

Later in day, the governor changed state policy to be able to send flags to our service men and women.

"The government is full of stupid policies," said Governor Bentley.

Many patriotic Alabamians had already taken action.

Army Sgt. First Class Howard Blake Jr. and eight others in his camp call Alabama home. So when his request to Governor Robert Bentley's staff to get a state flag to display while serving in Afghanistan was turned down, veteran Sid Wing stepped up to help.

"We don't have 12, 15, 30 bucks to spend on a flag to a troop? Really?" said Wing.

Wing is a member of Operation Patriot Shield, and with the help from volunteers they joined forces with Alabama Flag and Banner on Governor's Drive in Huntsville.

"When he found out we were sending a flag that folks here at Alabama flag were kind enough to donate, he was like HOORAH! We got it!" he said.

Alabama Flag and Banner stitched the state colors that will soon fly over foreign soil. Belinda Kennedy said she is proud her business could do its part. But she said the state should have done their part first.

"There needs to be some consideration for our men and women serving our country. When they ask for something as simple as a flag to show pride in the state they are from, that should be easily accommodated," said Kennedy.

Governor Bentley's office said they have since changed their policy.

Sgt. Blake will get his flag, and other service members fighting in combat zones will receive them as well.

Copyright 2011 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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