First responders replace flag for elderly couple

Published: Jan. 26, 2018 at 11:35 PM EST
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On Friday, officers from the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety gave a helping hand to a couple in need.

The elderly couple immigrated from the former Yugoslavia in the 60's. They are proud American citizens who needed help to replace the flag in their front yard.

"Nothing but wonderful feelings in our hearts, nothing but wonderful feelings," said Tom Spirov.

Spirov lives with his wife Mira in Downtown St. Joseph. He's fought prostate cancer but now has bone cancer. Doctors gave him two months to live eight years ago.

"Never has she given up on me," Spirov said. He called his wife his guardian angel.

"They came to our station and asked if we would be able to replace their flag for them so today a bunch of us came down from the department, took down the old flag and put up a new one," said Officer Brent Kotecki of the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety. "It's the right thing to do and this lovely couple, they've been in our community for a very long time and we're just looking to give back to our community."

The Star-Spangled Banner means so much to the couple.

"Oh it means the world," Spirov said. "Someone says it's a piece of cloth. Of course, so are the underwear a piece of cloth, but this piece of cloth has history and symbol for the people it represents."

Replacing their American flag is the least Officer Brent Kotecki, Capt. Rusty Schrubba and Sgt. Chris Mendus could do for the couple.

"They're always very warm and welcoming, they always invite us into their house, offer us drinks and food and whatnot," said Kotecki. "It's not always just taking bad people to jail. We're here for our community in a way that we can help and we feel a need that we can help them out."

"We cannot just say thanks enough," said Spirov.

The couple was sworn as American Citizens in 1972 and said it was the proudest moment of their lives. They always keep a copy of the Constitution with them at all times.