68-year-old Washington Townshipman places flags on
By Gretchen Rush
February 19, 2004
INDIANAPOLIS -- Since he's retired, George Kerr's
schedule is busier than when he worked full time.
"I told my wife I was going to go back to work so I'd
have some time for myself," the 68-year-old lifelong Washington
Township resident joked.
He serves his community on 14 boards and was
Washington Township's last volunteer fire chief in the late 1960s
and still keeps in touch with current chief Joe Anderson.
Throughout the year, with the help of Boy Scout
troops, Kerr place small flags on the graves of all known veterans
in several cemeteries whose gravestones date back to the Civil
Another passion of Kerr's is history. In his own
family history, eight generations of the Kerr family have lived in
Washington Township. Six generations are buried in the area, many in
the abandoned cemeteries the township is refurbishing.
Boy Scouts from the Order of the Arrow North Star and
men and their wives from the American Legion help put the flags
vertically beside the graves.
Before the Washington Township trustee began having
old cemeteries cleaned up, Kerr and the Scouts would crawl through
brush, rubble and broken headstones to mark the graves. Then, the
critters would steal them.
"Sometimes you'll find a flag up in a squirrel's
nest," he said.
Trustee Gwen Horth knows Kerr through a number of the
hats that he wears.
"He is very interested in our cemeteries," Horth said.
"Through his ancestry, he knows people who founded Washington
Kerr has many contacts in the community, making him a
great resource, Horth said.
"I didn't know him in his capacity as fire chief, but
he always maintained contact," said Chief Anderson.
On each board that he sits on, Kerr is a public
advocate for the Fire Department, Anderson said.
Anderson and Horth agree Kerr's service on the
Contribution Fund Inc. board is vital. The money raised for the fund
supports public and firefighter education, tuition reimbursement and
the annual Safety Festival.