Later that day Mark Whitten put a sign up offering a reward for information that would lead to the recovery of the flag or arrest of the "Punk" who stole it.
But this past Tuesday as Mark's wife Sara was about to leave for work, Charlotte Fire Department's Engine 24 and Ladder 24 rolled to a stop in front of the Whitten home.
Mark would later recall that Sara was pretty puzzled and concerned that two fire trucks where suddenly parked in front of their home. Her first thought he says was that maybe the house was on fire.
While fighting fire is their primary mission, on this day the guys from CFD Station 24 had a different sort of mission in mind. One that was just as important, in this case to right a wrong.
As the firefighters approached they told Sara that the reason they had stopped by was to give her a new USMC flag to replace the one that was stolen.
The firemen in her front yard went on to point out that Station 24 was home to 5 United States Marines with one currently deployed overseas. They added, that it was their way of thanking the Whitten's and their children for their service.
The gesture was their way of letting Whitten's know that they were around, looking out for the neighborhood and that they noticed the flag was missing and that someone cared.
According to Mark, it was all just too much for Sara to bear, she was at a complete loss for words. Speechless Sara couldn't hold back the tears of joy. Mark later recalled upon hearing the news from his wife, he too became choked up.
The reward sign now has a much different message: "Thank You Fire House 24 for the new USMC Flag".
|Photo Via Facebook|
"I just wanted to let you and anyone else who is reading this to know that YOU GUYS ROCK and THANK YOU SO SO MUCH HOUSE 24... This is something we will NEVER forget and are so grateful for the job you guys do and now for this too... THANKS AGAIN.. THE Whitten's..."
It's late in the evening when another tone drops at Station 24 followed by the computerized voice telling the crew the nature and location of the next call, less than a minute later Engine 24 is rolling down Pineville Matthews Road and disappearing into into the darkness. Doing whatever needs to be done.