Despite Rumors, Flag Man Stands Resolute

He's an Evansville icon, some even call him a local celebrity. But a rumor saying he passed away had the community heartbroken. 

Those rumors, not true. 

He's someone you typically see while driving down Riverside, waving the American flag and spreading patriotism to anyone passing by. 

Bill Quartuccio, who comes into town for work says, "When I see him it makes me smile. His energy level is amazing."

But a recent rumor got around that Billy Stewart, the flag man passed away. 

Johnny Ford says, "I felt sad because I heard it and couldn't believe it."

"I was really heartbroken," Belinda Jackson says. "I was like 'Oh my gosh he can't be gone.'"

While rumors took on a life of their own, flag man is still living his own life, with American pride of course. 

"Well it was a surprise to me that I was dead," Billy Stewart, also known as flag man says. "All this love people coming up with tears in their eyes out of their cars!"

Some people don't even know him personally. 

"I love him I don't know him personally but I love him because he just makes me happy," Jackson says. 

Other people see him everyday, but never stopped until Tuesday. 

"I drove by a while ago and saw him out here and I had to stop and meet him and shake his hand," Ford says. "He just makes your day."

And there are those who give him money on occasion. 

"You know we've never really talked but I feel like I'm helping him if I give him a few dollars," Quartuccio says. "Today more because I felt better."

So when those who love Billy the flag man saw him today...his red, white, and blue on Riverside was much more than American pride. 

"I've noticed that from just sitting here for the first time with him how impactful he is," Marcus Howard says. "People are actually honking their horns. Now that's pretty powerful."

Billy says he doesn't know how the rumors started but he says he was in different locations for two days, which might be why people were confused. 

(This story was originally published September 26, 2017)


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