A visible expression of patriotism: Flag flies on top of Bouton elevator

Lisa Widick
Special to the Chief
An American flag flies on top of the grain elevator in Bouton.

Drive the streets of Perry and you will see American flags on most every house or yard. But head out to Bouton and you will notice, from miles away, a huge American flag flying from the top of the grain elevator.

The American flag flying is 10’x15’ and is 205 feet from ground level, said Mike Brelsford, owner of the Bouton Grain Elevator. Brelsford, a quiet man who wants no recognition, tells the Perry Chief that, while he has owned the elevator since 2002, an American flag was first flown on top a few years later.

An American flag can be seen on top of the grain elevator in Bouton.

The flagpole was built by Doug Repp of Minburn. Around 2006, Repp helped Brelsford get the pole to the top of the elevator the first time with the help of five other individuals. They used a rope and physically pulled the pole to the top. Several years after the flagpole was installed, the rope broke and at that time, it was physically impossible to replace the rope.

August of 2020 came along and so did the derecho, which destroyed one of the grain bins at the privately owned elevator used solely by Brelsford Family Farms. While Brelsford was having the bins rebuilt by Mid-States Millwright Builders Inc from Nevada, Iowa, he spoke with the construction crew about the flagpole. Some of the crew members were veterans and they arranged to bring in a crane large enough to re-install the flagpole and hang a new flag.

A crane helps re-install the flagpole and hang a new flag on top of Bouton's grain elevator.

“They are proud Americans that wanted to see a flag up there,” Brelsford said

Brelsford was able to obtain the 10’x15’ flag from Milt Watkins of Watkins Flagpole Company in Ankeny. With the help of Mid-States and their crane, Brelsford was able to put the pole, rope and flag back up on top of the elevator.

“Up there, the wind always blows and the flag stands straight out most all the time; especially with the winds we’ve had this year,” Brelsford said.

An American flag flies on top of the grain elevator in Bouton.

He added that he will typically go through two or three flags a year due to the wind.

“You can’t believe the number of people who have contacted me saying ‘thank you for putting the flag up there,’" Brelsford said. 

People in Bouton have also told him thank you.

“People that believe in America like to look up there and say this is why I live here. It makes me and my wife, Susan, the happiest to know that people notice it,” Brelsford said.

An American flag flies on top of the grain elevator in Bouton.