"Avenue of Flags" tradition survives Bellevue floods

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BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) The Heartland flood continues to devastate the city of Bellevue months after the fact. Residents are still out of their homes, businesses are unsure when they'll be able to reopen, and it almost derailed a 20-year-long patriotic tradition in Bellevue.

"It was kind of hard to hear that, you know, coming home, growing up here, it was just always kind of neat to see that," said U.S. Army veteran, Eric Rombach.

The “Avenue of Flags” is a homegrown staple in the city of Bellevue.

"It's been a long-standing tradition for Bellevue for a long time," said Rombach.

Two decades ago, Don Stevens went door-to-door in the town and gathered any ounce of support he could to help honor his fellow veterans.

"It's very important that we remember the veterans, especially those that did not make it back,” said U.S. Air Force veteran, Hugo Curitti. "They sacrificed a lot for our country and I believe that flag represents that."

The month of March nearly cost Bellevue this long-standing honor after floodwaters sunk a storage facility on the east-end of town and destroyed the flags, poles, and brackets.

The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce gathered the troops to raise $6,000 to fly the flags and keep the tradition alive...and it worked.

The Chamber announced, Thursday, the “Avenue of Flags” is returning for years to come.

"People will come out of the woodwork to make sure those little things happen and to show that they have pride in their community," said Rombach

A community strong for its flood victims and its veterans.

"When people see others in need and little small traditions that we have...that's what makes us Nebraska," said Rombach.

The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce said it's pepared to order the 125 flags and install them on Franklin St., Galvin St., Mission Ave., and Fort Crook Rd.