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The Beatrice Sertoma Club puts up American flags for a variety of events throughout the year, but on Thursday morning, they were out posting flags to celebrate their own history.

Beatrice Sertoma—Sertoma is short for “service to mankind”—celebrated its 60th year by flying the stars and stripes alongside specially-made flags commemorating the group's founding in 1957. On Thursday, the group placed 250 flags around Beatrice.

Just as the sun was rising on Thursday, Bob Dye was inside a shed behind the American Legion hall in Beatrice, getting the stacks of flags on wooden poles ready for display. Every few minutes, pickups driven by Sertoma members would arrive, load up their beds and head off to place the flags.

The club has been putting up flags longer than Dye has been a member. He joined in 1989 and has worked alongside club members as they put them out on holidays, celebrations and other special occasions, usually about 10 times each year, he said.

“We put them up up and down Sixth Street and Highway 136 and several downtown,” Dye said. “Put them up at Neapco, I do Casper's Construction, which is kind of out of the way, but all the main business routes around downtown, we'll put them up down there.”

The flags will also serve as a fundraiser for the Sertoma Club, and the group offers to fly flags in front of local businesses in exchange for $25.

Nationwide, the Sertoma Club got its start in 1912 and gained the Beatrice Chapter in 1957. There are dozens of active members in the Beatrice club, which focuses most of its efforts on helping the deaf and hearing impaired.

The club is currently working on an to install a t-loop, or induction coil, that boosts sound for people with hearing aids in the Hevelone Center at Beatrice High School.

A handful of Sertoma anniversary flags will be flying around town, including in front of the Indian Creek Mall, Risky’s and the West Court Street Casey’s, said Richard Kunde, who has helped hang the flags since he joined Sertoma in 1980.

The Sertoma Club used to fly the flags in conjunction with the American Legion, he said, but now they just buy their flags from the organization and store them in their outbuilding.

Now, the club is aiming to gain new members, Kunde said, as well as retain the members they have.

“We only have one member left that's an original,” Kunde said. “John Bauer. He's the only 1957 member that's still here.”

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