WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The community of West St. Paul has flipped the script on a shameful act kickstarting Pride Month last week.
Someone tore down a Pride Flag put out on June 1.
But the petty theft is backfiring and landing more flags in front of more homes.
Rob Wedewer ushered in Pride Month by putting up his rainbow flag and taking to social media to encourage neighbors in West St. Paul to do the same.
His show of support for the LGBTQ community didn’t last the night.
"We woke up in the morning and the pole was bent down and the flag was gone," Wedewer said.
He and his wife initially thought maybe the wind had gotten the flag, but it was nowhere to be found and the bent flagpole was a giveaway that someone had physically removed it.
For a second, he was dejected.
"What can you do about people who are petty and insecure?" he said. "You can’t really do much about it."
But he is doing something about it.
"I decided that replacing my one flag with two or replace it with a bigger flag only replaced the one flag and it didn’t do much more than that," he said. "So I figured why not replace my flag with as many flags as I can?"
He’s raising money to buy Pride Flags and has already collected about $1400 in donations online.
That’s enough to buy more than 100 flags.
"It really means a lot," said Wendy Berry, who is West St. Paul’s first openly queer city council member and a big fan of the Pride Flag flying over City Hall this month.
Berry says knowing someone would tear down a Pride Flag can make people in the LGBTQ community uneasy, but seeing Wedewer’s response is reaffirming.
"I think the world needs to know that you can’t bully a community as a whole and expect for people not to look at it," Berry said. "It’s impactful and it hurts and people are going to rise above it and allies are going to rise up above it and really make people know they’re welcome here."
The first delivery of 20 flags is scheduled for Monday night, so Wedewer is ready to replace his and give away a lot more.
He’s also still taking requests for free flags at firstname.lastname@example.org.