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Flag that traveled in mission dedicated to Alverton man

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 9:18 p.m.
Wilda Hyskell of Alverton displays an American Flag which accompanied U.S. Air Force personnel on a mission in Afghanistan. The flag was dedicated to her husband Roanad Hyskell, who died Dec. 13, 2011. Paul Paterra | Independent-Observer

Wilda Hyskell admitted she got very emotional about an American flag she recently received.

There's a pretty good reason the Alverton woman felt that way. The flag accompanied U.S. Air Force personnel on a mission in Afghanistan and was dedicated to her husband, Ronald Hyskell, who died Dec. 13, 2011.

This came about due to the efforts of Hyskell's grandson — Joseph Alan Nay II — a 1996 graduate of Southmoreland High School, who currently lives in Alabama. Nay worked many years at Redstone Arsenal, a U.S. Army base in Huntsville.

Dianna Freels of Mt. Pleasant, Nay's mother, said her son contacted the Air Force, since his grandfather served in that branch of the service from 1964-1970.

The flag eventually made its way to a very surprised Wilda Hyskell.

“It really was a surprise,” she said. “I cried and cried. When I held it in my hands, I cried again. I just was overwhelmed that somebody would think to do that and what it has gone through, the flag itself. What overwhelmed me so much is that it became a reality of what our boys and girls are over there for. My grandson was in for Thanskgiving and he said the flag did see a little action.”

Ronald Hyskell was a well-known person locally. He owned and operated Hyskell farms in Alverton for many years.

Wilda Hyskell admitted receiving the flag does bring her a little closer to her husband.

“It makes me think of maybe what he went through when he was in the service,” she said. “He was not in the war zone, but he guarded the bombers. That was part of his duty. Ron never waved his own flag. He never did. I never even knew he was in special services until he died.”

The flag is encased quite nicely. Also included is a picture of the helicopter on which the flag was carried during the mission, which is a certificate of authenticity noting the flag has been awarded to Ronald Keith Hyskell. It also explains the mission during which the military personnel had this flag with them.

“On 20-21 December 2011, this flag was carried by Air Force officers of special investigations during the conduct of counterthreat operations with Parwan Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom,” reads the certificate.

Hyskell recently took the flag to a church service at Center Bethel Church of God, where her husband was a member.

“My son attended with me and got up and told the congregation all we know about the flag,” she recalled.

Freels was proud of what her son did,

“I think it's a true blessing,” Freels said. “I think my son went beyond what he could have done. He showed his love by doing this. He loved his grandfather. He really did. It was something my dad would have been proud of... It just brought the family to tears.”

Hyskell has the flag displayed proudly in her Alverton home.

“We hear so much bad, but somebody thought to do this for me and for Ronald,” she said. “I know it took a lot of chain of command to get this done. It just overwhelmed me that my grandson would think to do this.”

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or