Northwest NEWS

April 2, 2001

Local News

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Mayor Ransom and Campbell Gunnel raising the flag.

Three cheers for the red, white and blue - and Campbell too

by Bronwyn Wilson
   Senior Staff Reporter
   Campbell Gunnell, future pilot, farmer and artist, is a student at Bellevue Christian Pre-school. He is articulate and active and was given a job most five-year-olds never have. Perhaps you'll think of him the next time you see the American flag flapping proudly in the breeze in front of Woodinville's beautiful new City Hall.
   At this writing, Campbell is getting ready to celebrate his fifth birthday in a very unusual way.
   Though he had a party on March 26 and had a great time opening up presents that five-year-old boys love, such as a new bike and Matchbox cars, he also received a present from his aunt that will place him in Woodinville's history.
   Campbell's aunt, Lynn Claudon, gave him a one-of-a-kind birthday gift the opportunity to hoist the United States flag at the dedication of the new Woodinville City Hall on Saturday, March 31.
   The Woodinville Rotary Club donated the flagpole to the City and put the chance to raise the flag at the City Hall dedication up for bid at their annual auction-golf tournament last August.
   Said Rotarian John Hughes, community service director, "We thought it would be neat to offer someone in the community a chance to be the first person to raise the flag over City Hall at the time of dedication."
   For that chance, there were several bids.
   With her nephew in mind, Lynn Claudon submitted the winning bid.
   When Campbell learned that his aunt was giving him a ceremonial position to raise the flag for his birthday, he wasn't sure what it all meant. "He was totally mystified," said his mother, Lori Gunnell. But after talking about it and having time to prepare for the event, Campbell began to understand what it was all about. "Now he thinks it's totally cool," said his mom.
   Campbell prepared for his big day. "We're going down to City Hall and practice," said Gunnell several days before the dedication.
   With Mayor Randy Ransom's assistance, Campbell rehearsed his flag-raising job the day before the event.
   Said Ransom, "I'm thrilled that his aunt won the bid and then passed it on, giving him the opportunity to raise the flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol. I'm sure it's something that will have an impact on his life forever."
   Following the dedication on Saturday, Campbell had a party with his family in honor of the event. "We had a flag birthday party right after," Gunnell said.
   The flag party had a star-spangled theme with a flag cake and flag cupcakes and flag napkins.While being interviewed over the phone by this reporter, Lori Gunnell discussed the party and the upcoming dedication at City Hall. She turned away from the phone to relate a question that the lady reporter had just asked. "Campbell, what are you planning to be when you grow up?"
   Campbell replied, "I'm going to be a lotta stuff. I'm going to be a pilot, a farmer and an artist. Nothing else." Campbell wondered why his mom was talking about him and who she was talking to? His mom explained that the lady on the phone was writing a story about him and asking questions.
   "The lady wants to know what do you like to do?"
   "I like to play," responds Campbell. Lori Gunnell added that he enjoys riding his new bike and playing soccer. Campbell reminded his mom that he also likes to fish with his dad (Rotarian Dennis Gunnell who is vice-president of Formost Packaging in Woodinville.)
   "What are your favorite things, Campbell?"
   He answers right away that his favorite things are his dog Arde, his dad, his brothers and sisters and his bunnies, Alder and Pepper.
   With winsome Campbell Gunnell's help, the flag will usher in the dedication of Woodinville's new two-story building.
   The flag, given to the City by Congressman Jay Inslee, has a colorful history of a former life on top of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. For Americans, a United States flag symbolizes many things whether it is the struggle for independence or the sacrifice of brave men and women. But for Campbell it might possibly symbolize a special aunt who thought he should be the one to raise the flag at the new City Hall.