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Texas Community Works To Raise Flags For Returning Sailor

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FLOWER MOUND (CBS 11 NEWS) – In the front yard of the Kockler home near Flower Mound the family’s flag pole looms large, but raising their two flags recently required an emergency response. The family had an American Flag and a Navy Flag on their pole.

“We’ve had that flag flying since the day she left,” explained mother Victoria Kockler, referring to her military daughter.  “So when we couldn’t get it [a new flag] up with the 4th of July coming and her visit coming very soon we were up in arms.”

The Kockler’s daughter, Lieutenant Emily Ham, is a sailor in the Navy. She’s stationed in Belgium and has been away from home for more than four years.

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

“When you are a military family and your loved one is so far away sometimes that’s all you have,” said Victoria Kockler. “The flag and the pictures… so that was so important to us.”

The family said they had a problem with the pole and had to take down the flags for a few weeks. Dad Curtis Kockler said, “The rope had frayed – it had gotten rotten. At the top of the roller it jammed up and broke the rope off.”

Unable to fix the problem on their own, the family turned to their volunteer fire department in Double Oak, but the department doesn’t have a ladder truck.

But the neighboring Flower Mound Fire Department came to the rescue.”They had a big ladder and I needed a big ladder,” Victoria Kockler said enthusiastically. “The fire truck beat me here to my address before I even made it home. It was just overwhelming.”

The offer of help might have meant as much to the firefighters as it did the Kockler’s. “It’s a little small token of what she [Lt. Ham] has done and what the military services do for our country that we can give a little bit back,” Flower Mound Assistant Fire Chief Fred Calhoun said plainly. “We are here to serve when we can if we are available.”

Now everything is ready for Lt. Ham’s homecoming. When told about the efforts of the community to help Victoria Kockler recalled her daughter, “…said ‘Thanks mom I’m crying at my desk.’ She’s so touched and she’s so humbled.”

Lt. Ham was supposed to be home July 5th, but now her return date has been changed to sometime in August.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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