GRAND FORKS — Commuters may notice something new in the sky outside of the Northeast Regional Water Operations office off Gateway Drive: two flags blowing in the wind.
"We hope Chase would be proud of it; we know he would be," said Michael Hron.
Those flags fly high in honor of his son, 19-year-old Chase Hron. The teen from Thief River Falls drowned two years ago while jet skiing in Mahnomen County. After hours of searching, divers recovered his body.
"(It's) the worst nightmare that a parent could go through," said Michael Hron with tears in his eyes.
A GoFundMe page was launched. Instead of the Hron family keeping the $2,600 that was raised, they decided to give it back to the water operations team for their help in bringing closure to the family.
"We knew right away we wanted to give back to them," Michael Hron said. "They were so professional and so gracious."
"It reflects on the impact of how we are touching the families' lives," said commander Thomas Inocencio.
Inocencio said he knew right away they could not use the money the Hron family donated for everyday expenses. Instead, they wanted to give it back to the community and built a memorial in Chase's honor. He said the two flag poles and memorial marker are to honor everyone the organization has impacted.
"This memorial is not just about Chase, it's about all the other people they have rescued and recovered, it's about their families, too," Inocencio said.
As Chase Hron's family had the honor of raising the flags for the first time, they know they are much more than just two flags.
"When they pull into their place of work and see the flag poles and memorial, they are reminded of how important they are," Michael Hron said.
The dive team says the memorial provides a new driving force for each call.
"It's permanent, (the memorial) will always be there and give our team a reminder of what we are doing and why we are doing it," Inocencio said.