Bay Ridge

Holy Angels student paints hydrants in Memorial Day tribute

May 25, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nolan Keegan says he got the idea to paint fire hydrants when he thought about the sacrifices made by members of the military. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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Nolan Keegan, a sixth grader at Holy Angels Catholic Academy, wants to join the armed forces when he grows up. He’s not sure if he will become a Navy SEAL or if he’s destined to be Marine. “But I want to join the military,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Nolan, 11, isn’t waiting to grow up to show his deep love for his country.

On Wednesday, he spearheaded an after-school project for Memorial Day that involved giving the fire hydrants on the Bay Ridge block where Holy Angels Academy is located a patriotic fresh coat of paint. He chose the colors carefully. The fire hydrants on 74th Street between Third and Fourth avenues were painted red, white and blue by Nolan and his friends.

For good measure, Nolan even painted white stars on the fire hydrants so that they looked like American flags.

It took about 45 minutes to paint the fire hydrants on the block, with Nolan, his younger brother Braydon and his friends working under the watchful eye of Nolan’s mother Erin Keegan. As they painted, drivers who were parking their cars and pedestrians who were walking down the street stopped to admire their work. “People told us they thought we were doing a good job,” Nolan said.

Nolan, whose favorite subject in school is social studies, said he got the idea for the hydrant-painting project when he as trying to come up with something to do as a community service activity for Memorial Day, the national holiday that honors military members who have died fighting in the nation’s wars. Memorial Day is Monday, May 29.

“I thought this would be a good idea for community service,” he told the Eagle. “You don’t see fire hydrants like that.”

Nolan had a particular audience in mind. Bay Ridge is home to the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hamilton, the only active military post in New York City. The fort’s main gate is located on Fort Hamilton Parkway and 101st Street, approximately one mile from Holy Angels Catholic Academy. “If a soldier walks by and sees it,” he said, pointing to one of the red, white and blue fire hydrants he painted, “it will make them feel good.”

Keegan said she is impressed with the job her son did. “I’m proud of him,” she told the Eagle.

Odie Thomas, Nolan’s friend, was one of the students giving him a helping hand. “He’s one of my best friends and I thought it was a good idea,” he said.

Another friend, Jeremias Lazo, said he helped Nolan paint the fire hydrants, “because I thought it was the right thing to do.”

Even Nolan’s younger brother Braydon got into the spirit of the day. “I felt it was important to support our troops,” he told the Eagle.


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