Dry cleaner irons the stars and stripes for veterans' funerals

Staff writer

In addition to pressing numerous shirts, pants, suits and dresses, as well as delivering laundry and doing clothing alterations, Donna Rosiere had time to iron the wrinkles out of an American flag on Thursday. The flag will be given to a deceased veteran’s family as part of a funeral.

“We do it to honor any veteran who served in a conflict,” Rosiere said. “It looks nicer.”

For the last eight years, Rosiere has ironed flags for bereaved families as a small token of gratitude for their loved ones’ service to the country.

She receives orders from funeral homes in the county and a couple outside the county in Herington and Council Grove. She said she doesn’t receive the names of the deceased veterans.

“When we receive the flags, they come folded up in little boxes,” she said. “I let them sit out for a day to let the fabric breathe before I press them.”

Before she irons a flag, she makes sure to lay a clean sheet on the ground as a sign of respect, so that when she drapes the flag over her ironing board, it never touches the ground.

She irons both sides. When she finishes a flag, she folds it just enough to hang it observing proper flag etiquette.

“When I was in fifth and sixth grade we learned how to raise and lower the flag at school,” she said. “We also learned how to fold it. The stars should always be on top.”

She said the flags are made of cotton fiber and over the years, that fiber has gotten lighter and easier to iron.

Rosier lives in Florence with her husband, Bill, who served in the Navy for four years during Vietnam. She and Bill have owned Marion Dry Cleaning and Laundry for about 10 years.

“Bill is part of the Color Guard with the legion, “she said. “He’s in the Labor Day parade in Florence. We also volunteer to put up the flags at Labor Day and take them down for Memorial Day at Hillcrest Cemetery.”

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