By Frank Lewis
At this time 58 years ago, Frank Peters, who resides on Stockham Hill in West Portsmouth, was a Marine stationed at Parris Island, South Carolina. All of those memories come flooding back to him when he salutes a pole in front of his house each day.
“I’ve got it all finished now,” Peters said. “The U.S. flag and the light up on the pole. I took care of everything with one stroke, and I salute them every morning and every night.”
Peters wanted to honor his grandson, Kyle Potts, who is currently serving in the U.S. Army and the man married to his granddaughter, Megan Potts, Wes Farmer, serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, so he put up a flag on a pole, photos of both, along with yellow ribbons.
“He (Potts) has been in about a year-and-a-half,” Peters said. “And he (Farmer) has been in about half a year.”
Farmer is at Camp Pendleton in Southern California after returning from Japan and Potts is at Fort Hood, Texas, having served his basic training in Columbia, South Carolina and being station in Fort Gordon, Georgia. Being a veteran, one of Peters’ ideas was to put himself into the equation.
“I got it in my head. I told my wife to go up and get my old PT (physical training) uniform I wore at Parris Island in (19)57 and I’m gonna put it on and go out and stand by the pole and get my picture taken,” Peters said. “But the weight has distributed itself differently and I couldn’t get my PT uniform shorts on. So I just put my Marine Corps utility cap on. It just sat atop my head. My Friend Danny Madden (the two worked together at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility) took a picture of me.”
Peters said he put the pole with the photographs on it out on the edge of his property for the entire world to see.
“That’s why I put it there. It’s a dead-end street,” Peters said. “When you come up to the top of the hill on Hudson Road, you turn on Crull Street – the first driveway to the right, my house is right on the corner facing Crull Street.”
Peters found time to complete his project despite fighting two different bouts with cancer over the last couple of years. In fact, in one months’ time he went from 232 pounds to 150 pounds. But that didn’t stop him from honoring Potts and Farmer.
“I’ve got it whipped so far,” Peters said. “There’s no cancer in my body and I’m back up and maintaining 160 pounds.”
Peters has lamination around the pole and he sought out satin ribbons to withstand the rain. He said he is proud of this generation of military members and he invites people to come by and see his pole and honor those serving their country today.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.