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Donaldsons Match Donations For U.S. Flags in Classrooms

08/23/2004

When it comes to an unequivocal expression of patriotism like Old Glory, there are few who cherish the American flag more than Allyn C. Donaldson, Jr. of Santa Rosa Beach.

So, when the Florida Legislature directed there be American flags in each of Okaloosa-Walton College's 176 classrooms, Donaldson, past president of the OWC Foundation, stepped up to plate once more.

"You know how I feel about the American flag," said Donaldson, who celebrates his wedding anniversary with wife Blanche on Flag Day each year. "Our flag is more than symbol. It is America."

That is why the Donaldsons have agreed to match all donations to the college's fund raising effort to put flags in each classroom at all of OWC's campuses and centers. It will cost about $4,000 to equip all college classrooms with Old Glory, according to OWC Foundation Executive director Jim Chitwood, noting that the state requires that schools seek private donations to fund the flag purchase.

"Al Donaldson is one of the most patriotic individuals I've ever met," said Chitwood of the former U.S. Navy veteran and retired General Motors executive. "When I shared with Al the foundation's plan to raise the funds for the flags he was ready to pay for them all himself."

Since other clubs and organizations also have agreed to donate to the American flag fund, Donaldson said he would match the contributions "and whatever is left, I will provide."

Dr. Bob Richburg, OWC president, said it is not the first time Donaldson has come through for the college. "Al Donaldson has a passion for this college like no one else, so I am not surprised he wants to buy the flags himself," said Richburg, nothing that the Donaldsons already have funded an endowed scholarship, named the Blanche and Allyn Donaldson computer lab in the Business Division and contributed to each fund raising campaign the foundation has undertaken. He is also the first Lifetime Member of the foundation's President's Club.

Richburg said individual and community support for placing American flags in all college classrooms also has been significant.

"Because of Al and Blanche Donaldson, I have no doubt we will reach our goal and the flags will be in each classroom during fall semester," Richburg said.