Collector helps victim after star-spangled bandit steals flag

Collector helps victim after star-spangled bandit steals flag

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A flag collector gave a woman a U.S. flag Thursday after her star-spangled banner was stolen out of her front yard on Independence Day. 

Jean Rabern’s only American Flag, which was flown by her son-in-law while he was on-duty in Iraq, had disappeared from her front yard on the Fourth of July.

While it is impossible to replace the family heirloom, Robin Hickman of the Springfield Jaycees offered to donate a flag after he heard about the theft.

Hickman’s collection of flags is nearly 800 strong, and he brought five U.S. flags for Jean to look at on Thursday.

“I am so sorry that your flag was stolen,” Hickman told Rabern as they looked over the flags. “My first inclination was ‘I've got to give this woman a flag!’.”

“(Here’s) an embroidered flag, it's made by Valley Forge Flag Company … Look familiar?” asked Hickman, holding up a flag.

After they examining the different banners for about 5 minutes, Rabern found an exact match to the one that was stolen.

“It makes me feel very good, very good.  It's so special,” Rabern said.

She said she’s thankful for the gift, and happy to know that the community can pull together and help one another.

“In a small way,” Hickman said. “One person to another person, one flag at a time.”

“To the person that stole it, please bring it back. Give it back - it's not yours,” added Hickman. 

Rabern was also gifted another American Flag with a small pole from Creative Awnings Company of Springfield to help cover her loss.