BRISTOL - The Central CT Chambers of Commerce is looking for donations to help Joe Englert continue a tradition started by his father.
Bill Englert, who passed away in 2014, and the chamber worked together to outfit the City of Bristol with U.S. flags displayed on street poles downtown and on Veterans Memorial Boulevard during patriotic holidays and events.
“He was doing it for at least as long as I have been here and I’ve been here for 21 years,” said Linda DiMatteo, vice president of events and assistant of the business organization. “We have had numerous people call in from other towns saying what a beautiful thing it is to see all of the flags as they’re coming in to Bristol. We are a very patriotic city with a lot of veterans and we feel that, as Americans, we should always have a lot of respect for our flag.”
To keep up this tradition the chamber and Joe Englert are asking the community and local businesses to support these efforts and to help fund the purchase of new flags and flag poles to replace damaged ones.
“The flag displays were started by Bill Englert working with the chamber’s Beautification Committee, which is also involved in the Duck Race and purchases the bulbs for the holiday lights,” said DiMatteo. “Bill was on the Route 6 Merchants Committee and he took care of the flags on Route 6.”
The chamber will be purchasing 270 flags and 80 poles, which will cost them an estimated $3,000, DiMatteo said.
In addition, through Bill Englert’s past efforts and generosity, as well as many private donations, the Route 6 Merchants’ Flag Committee has provided U.S. flags for the entire Route 6 corridor and downtown Forestville. The Bristol Chamber, to further show Bristol’s pride and patriotism to people who visit for the Eastern Regional Little League Baseball tournament, also displays flags on Mix and Malby streets during the event.
“Personally, I can say that as long as I’m around and as long as Joe is around this tradition will continue,” said DiMatteo. “I’ll say this of Joe; the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. He does more in this community than many people realize. He will start work putting up the flags next week. Last year, he extended it further up the street to St. Joseph Cemetery and down to the Giamatti Little League center. Some of our veterans, former Mayor Art Ward and Tim Gamache, help Joe out. This is something that takes multiple hours; they can’t get it all done in one day. However, in the end, it’s something we all appreciate and love to see.”
“It’s something that I’m really glad my father started and I’m proud to be his son and take up the reins,” said Joe Englert. “It is a very patriotic tradition and I have a lot of respect for the military and for this country. My father served in Vietnam and after he passed away three years ago I have carried on with help from Art and Tim. They’re two awesome guys and I always know that I can count on them. I get a lot of people honking their horns as we put up the flags and stopping by, telling us that they appreciate it. In total we’ll be putting up almost 200 flags and I added 60 more last year.”
For more information, call Joe Englert at 860-582-7166 or Linda DiMatteo at 860-584-4718. Donations can be sent to Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Route 6 Merchants’ Flag Committee, 200 Main St. Checks can be made payable to Bristol Chamber of Commerce.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.