The sleeping quarters of Wayland's fire headquarters have a bit of new decor these days following the presentation of an encased American flag and a certificate of authenticity from the United States Marine Corp.
According to the certificate:
This is to certify this flag was flown in combat over Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom aboard F/A 18C 'Hornet' Aircraft Number 164891 (Helldiver 43) on August 4th, 2012, flown proudly by Sgt. E. O Rokes.
The flag was presented to Wayland Firefighters Local 1978, IAFF, by Sgt. Edward O. Rokes, who has grown up around the Wayland Fire Department, according to Deputy Chief David Houghton.
Houghton explained that the Rokes family's roots run deep at the Wayland Fire Department. Sgt. Rokes is the son of Firefighter Ron Rokes, a three-decade veteran of the fire department, and brother of Andrew Rokes, a Wayland Joint Communications dispatcher.
"Ed is finishing up his time with the Marines in February, and his family is very much a part of the Wayland Fire Department," said Houghton via email. "Most of us here have known Ed since he was very young and watched him grow to be the person he is today, something we are all very proud of."
Houghton explained that the Wayland Fire Department has set a precedent of honoring the troops, including "Red Shirt Fridays" during which the firefighters wear red uniform shirts that feature a yellow ribbon with the phrase "Support Our Troops" on the sleeve.
"[Rokes] has surprised his mom and dad a couple of times with unexpected trips home," Houghton continued in his email, "and now he gave us (his extended family) something for us to always remember what our military does each and every day and coming from one of our family it means that much more."
The flag, according to the certificate is intended to "serve always as a reminder of America's Commitment to the Defense of Liberty and Freedom."