Lamar Starks is part of a four-dad crew that takes turns carpooling their children to Dalton Middle School.
The fathers have a running, half-serious competition to determine which is "the coolest carpool dad." Plenty of bad dad jokes are told during the 10- to 15-minute drive from their meeting place at Brookwood Park each school day.
Turns out the coolest people in the car might not be the dads.
On Wednesday morning, Starks had carpool duty for the four seventh-graders — Conrad Coleman, Drew Snyder, Hampton Starks and Owen Witt. As they made their way east on Glenwood Avenue just past Dalton City Hall, Starks noticed a display of American flags to commemorate Sept. 11 had been knocked down the night before by strong thunderstorms. The flags are displayed in an empty lot next to Gregg Sims Architect.
"I said 'Look at all of those flags on the ground, what should we do?" Lamar Starks said. "They all said, 'We've got to go put all of those flags back up!' I circled the block and they were all about it. They got to work on it. I was real proud of them. They did a great job."
Starks got out of the car, but not to help. He documented the boys picking up the flags and placing them upright. Photos and video of the seventh-graders in action that Starks posted on social media garnered plenty of likes and comments, he said.
Simms, whose office is next to the lot, was delighted to hear that a group of youngsters returned the flags to their proper position. Rebel Burton, a military veteran, sets up the display of state and U.S. flags throughout the year on patriotic days, such as Flag Day and the Fourth of July.
"We have a lot of veterans come to the door and thank us for letting him do it," said Simms, a Vietnam veteran. "It's good for the community."
The short detour almost made the students late to school. They arrived at Dalton Middle "with barely a minute to spare," Starks said. If they had been a minute or two late, we believe school administrators would have let their tardiness slide — just this one time.
Lamar Starks was still beaming with pride days after the students' zealous show of patriotism.
"Really, they taught us all a lesson because they were very quick to say that's not right, those flags need to be back up, let's take care of it," he said. "Everybody is really proud of those boys. They are really, really fine young men. I'm glad to see they know what's really important as well."
For their patriotism and willingness to right a situation, the Daily Citizen-News names Conrad Coleman, Drew Snyder, Hampton Starks and Owen Witt our Citizens of the Week.