Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

March 21, 2013
Soldiers gives ‘thanks’ to Tooele City for waiving utility bills while deployed

A recently retired member of the Utah Army National Guard presented a U.S. flag to the Tooele City Council and Mayor Patrick Dunlavy Wednesday as a way to say “thank you.”

Tooele resident Timothy Fagan decided to present the flag to the city because of the support he and his family received while he was deployed in Afghanistan for a year, and for years afterward while he fulfilled continuous orders to support the war.

Fagan said Tooele City provided relief to his family by waiving his monthly utility bill from 2006 until earlier this month when he retired from the military. He did not have to pay his utility bill during that time.

Fagan presented the flag during the council’s business meeting Wednesday night. Three of his sons who are also in the National Guard — Conner, Adrian and Benjamin Fagan — attended the meeting to help their father present the flag.

“Over that six-year period it was such a huge savings for me and my family,” Fagan said. “I’ve planned for a long time to present this flag, as well as some custom-made pens to the city, in appreciation for their support and the relief they provide to soldiers who are deployed.”

The flag, which was presented in a wooden display case with a glass window, is approximately 9 feet high and 16 feet wide. It flew over an undisclosed American operating base in Iraq and was given to Fagan by a fellow soldier and friend who served in Iraq and obtained the flag there.

Fagan also presented custom-made pens to each member of the city council and the mayor. The case and pens were all made by a local veteran from wood left over from the display case.

Shannon Wimmer, Tooele City assistant finance director, said the city waives its utility bill, which includes water, sewer, garbage and storm water, for all active military duty personnel who live within the city. Currently, there are two families utilizing this service.

“We will waive the bill for all active military members who get called to active duty, whether they are sent to a combat zone or are asked to help in a local crisis, like [Hurricane Katrina] in New Orleans,” Wimmer said. “We will assist any military member that’s called up to active duty.”

Fagan joined the Army in 1976, and then enlisted in the National Guard in 1983. His combined years of service total just under 30 years. In Afghanistan, Fagan served as a mentor for a transportation company that was with the Afghan Army. His job skills are as a traffic management coordinator, which is someone who manages the movement of troops and equipment when soldiers are deployed.

In 2009, Fagan joined the wounded warrior unit due to injuries and an illness he sustained during his deployment. He retired as a specialist.

Fagan said he didn’t present the flag only for himself, but as appreciation for all soldiers who live in Tooele City.

“The presentation [represented] the appreciation we have,” he said. “Two of my sons are in the National Guard and my third son, who is mentally handicapped, was made an honorary member of the National Guard. This means a lot to our family and the city.”

Mayor Dunlavy said the flag is the first one the city has received in several years. He plans on displaying it in city hall for the community to see.

“This flag is a note of appreciation from the military for waiving their utility fees when they’re deployed,” Dunlavy said. “This is a little thing that the city does, but it helps families when someone is deployed and money gets tight. We’re certainly happy to do that.”

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