Giant U.S. flag adorns outside of Coon Rapids Legion

A giant U.S. flag now adorns the outside of the Coon Rapids American Legion Post on Crooked Lake Boulevard.

Jay LaMotte in front of the U.S. flag he painted on the outside of the Coon Rapids American Legion building.
Jay LaMotte in front of the U.S. flag he painted on the outside of the Coon Rapids American Legion building.

The flag, as well as the new coat of paint given to the entire exterior of the Legion post this summer, was the work of Jay LaMotte.

Lamotte, a self-employed painter by profession, has been a member of the Coon Rapids Sons of the American Legion unit for 15 years. His father was a World War II veteran, LaMotte said.

According to LaMotte, who has also done painting work inside the Legion building, both the interior and exterior of the Legion post were in need of fresh coats of paint.

That’s why he volunteered his time and effort to undertake the projects and decided to add a U.S. flag to the outside of the building, LaMotte said.

Indeed, the flag not only covers a portion of the Legion building fronting the Northdale and Crooked Lake boulevards intersection, but also wraps round the back of the building.

Before starting the project, he got approval from the Legion membership after showing them a cardboard mock-up to demonstrate what he intended to do, LaMotte said.

Then he asked members to individually donate the gallon cans of paint that he would need for the project.

In all, he went through an estimated 45 gallons of paint, all of which were donated, LaMotte said.

In painting the flag, LaMotte had to observe flag etiquette rules, he said.

But he also had to determine how long the flag he was going to paint would be and to make sure the dimensions of the stripes and stars would match, LaMotte said.

The completed flag is 666 inches in length with the stripes 18 inches wide and the stars 14.58 inches in diameter, he said.

He did not draw up any detailed plans for the work, but rather used his eye and looked several times at the U.S. flag he has at his home, according to LaMotte.

The work took a few weeks and the wet weather earlier in the summer did not help, LaMotte said. “It looks pretty nice,” he said.

“The flag and the outside paint work brings more visibility to the Legion post and makes it more welcoming.”

He hopes it will bring more people to the Legion so that it can thrive, LaMotte said.

LaMotte heard last week that the VFW post in Minneapolis was planning a similar flag painting project on the outside of its building, he said.

He doesn’t know if the VFW heard about his work, but if it did, then he is flattered that it would use his idea, LaMotte said.

Post Commander Dominic Sambrano was delighted with LaMotte’s work.

With the completion of the painting project, landscaping work has taken place and plans are in place to repair the parking lot. In September, the roof will be replaced.