Volunteers distribute hundreds of flags before holiday

Special to Gannett

A local July 4th tradition continues.

Just days before our community celebrates the anniversary of our nation’s independence, Silvia Madriaga, a real estate agent at ResortQuest Real Estate, and her band of Flaggers hit the streets placing over 800 flags in front of homes in Walton and Okaloosa counties.

Flaggers this year included Marcelo Madriaga, Linda Coiro, Shawna Sharruf, Teagan Seton, Grace Ponder and Silvia Madriaga.

Each year for 22 years, Madriaga has placed her flags with note cards saying "Happy Birthday America!" in front of mailboxes in neighborhoods throughout the area. Homeowners have come to expect this and even keep the keepsakes year after year to add them to the display. Flags line the streets and bring a sense of community to the area.

"We go walking with stacks of flags in our arms," Madriaga said. "We get cheers and waves from passers by. We look forward to putting the flags out and people look forward to seeing them. The flags instill a sense of patriotism around town! It’s a little hot out but worth the work."

Madriaga said it’s heartwarming to know that patriotism is alive and well in our area.

"We enjoy it every year!” she added.

Flaggers this year included Marcelo Madriaga, Linda Coiro, Shawna Sharruf, Teagan Seton, Grace Ponder and Silvia Madriaga.