A firefighter and Navy veteran was attempting to extinguish massive flames at a Toledo Ohio home on Friday when he spotted an American Flag between the house and a small adjoining structure next to it — he knew he had to take action.
“I was helping one of the rookies throw a stream in between those two structures, to keep that second structure from burning,” Skomer told WTOL. “That’s when I noticed the colors waving with the flames behind them.”
Allen Skomer had the gut instinct to save the patriotic symbol as soon as he saw it. Skomer rushed towards the house, grabbed the flag and held it carefully so its colors would not brush the ground. He then rested it in the fire truck, safe from the flames. Soon after, the roof of the home caved in, destroying everything inside of it. The American flag remains one of the only items to come out of the fire unscathed.
“I didn’t want to let it burn, so I went and grabbed it,” he said. “I’m an eight-year veteran of the Navy. It’s just a knee-jerk reaction. I didn’t want to see the colors go up. I would never knowingly let the flag go up in smoke or be desecrated in front of me if I can help it.”
Later, Skomer found out that the flag he saved belonged to a veteran as well. The homeowner, referred to as Bob, is a significant part of his community and values the preservation and respect of his flag. Christy Depp, his friend, told local news that Bob had just got a new flag to display before the fire. He is also known in the community for helping out those less fortunate in his neighborhood.
“Bob’s a good man to the community, to us. He’s a veteran,” Depp continued. “A lot of the homeless that walk up and down the streets, he feeds them. Cooks for them and everything and never turned nobody down, nobody down. He did a lot for us.”
Bob has lost his house and the majority of his possessions. But because of Skomer’s actions, he can rebuild with the comfort that he did not lose cherished flag and that he has the overwhelming support of his community. We salute you, Allen Skomer.
Skomer’s actions were also applauded by Toledo Fire spokesman Sterling Rahe.
“Patriotism is something that I think is overlooked these days,” Rahe said. “That flag is the core symbol of our citizenship and we should be thankful for the freedom and what that flag represents. It’s a proud moment.”