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Pentz family purchases flag to return Old Glory to park

Posted: Tuesday, Aug 13th, 2013

Tara and Jon Pentz — pictured with Bear River State Park Superintendent Wade Henderson — recently donated a U.S. flag to replace the one stolen last week. HERALD PHOTO/Anjoli Mosier

EVANSTON — The following message appeared recently on the Bear River State Park’s Facebook fan page: “Sometime between 10 p.m. on Aug. 8 and 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 9, the large, 20-foot by 30-foot U.S. flag that was flown at the Travel Information Center was stolen. If you have any information on this theft, please contact the Evanston Police Department. Due to this theft, and the high cost of replacement (approx. $700), we will not be flying a large flag for the remainder of the season. Hopefully we will be able to display a flag next summer.”

By Friday evening, after the message had been posted, Evanston resident Lee Parker had posted the news on the Evanston Classifieds page on Facebook requesting donations from area residents to get the flag replaced for the state park; the message had also been posted on the Herald’s Facebook fan page.

Residents jumped on board to help with the effort to replace the stolen Old Glory, and by Saturday morning the Bear River State Park Information Center was receiving numerous calls from area residents — including members of the VFW and the Evanston Rotary Club — asking how best to make a donation.

When Jon Pentz and his wife Tara read the news, they knew that this was the moment they had been waiting for. Jon had been brutally assaulted at the recent Brew Fest event in Evanston, and the family has seen substantial support from the community following the attack.

Although shocked at the senseless theft of our national flag, the Pentz family was, as a result, watching and waiting for a way to give back to the community who had so generously given to them for the past few weeks.

After coordinating with the state of Wyoming’s Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources superintendent Wade Henderson on the type of flag needed for the park, the Pentzes purchased a new flag to be flown at the state park, which will arrive in three to 10 business days. Although the new flag will have smaller dimensions than the previous flag, it should be better able to withstand the  “wonderful Wyoming wind,” according to Pentz.

Despite the Pentz family’s generosity, the Bear River State Park Information Center will still gladly accept donations for a flag to be run up the 100-foot flagpole as, due to the wind, the flags are usually only able to be flown for one season before being retired.

To make donations to the park for a new flag, simply bring your donation to the information center with a notation earmarking the gift for the flag fund, or call (307) 789-6547 for more details.

Lee Parker added that the park is always accepting donations for Bear River State Parks grounds maintenance and upkeep, as well, so any donations not earmarked for the flag will still be put to good use.  

Parks department officials wished to thank everyone in the community for their help in replacing the flag, and especially the Pentz family for their generous gift. The Evanston Police Department are looking for the culprits.

Jon Pentz case remains under investigation

July 20 marked the day that drastically changed the Pentz family. That’s when Jon Pentz was brutally assaulted at the Evanston Brew Fest. Pentz is awaiting the final approval from the Wyoming Victim’s Fund before he can proceed with the surgeries necessary to repair his broken nose, crushed nasal passages, and broken orbital socket — which will be repaired by attaching a titanium plate to his skull.

Following the assault, area residents made several donations to the family to help with living expenses, and the surgeries, until Pentz is able to return to work.

When the family found that the Wyoming Victim’s Fund would be covering the majority of the upcoming medical expenses, they immediately began looking for ways to give back.

Law enforcement officials are actively pursuing a case against the men who assaulted Pentz, his father, and a few others who were in attendance at the Brew Fest that day. Affadavits are being filled out in several locations in Utah, as well as one in Green River, to help build a case against the assailants.

The Pentz family wants the community to know that they are very grateful for the generosity and love that has been shown to their family during this time.

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