Local News

Senior keeps spirit waving
68-year-old Washington Townshipman places flags on veterans' gravestones.
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 War.

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 Township."

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.

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