Wakeman introduces plan commemorating Saginaw Native

Categories: News,Wakeman News

Measure designates Aug. 21 as Robert G. Heft Day

State Rep. Rodney Wakeman of Saginaw Township this week introduced a plan to commemorate Aug. 21 as Robert G. Heft Day in Michigan.

Saginaw native Robert “Bob” Heft is responsible for designing the current 50-star U.S. flag while a student at Lancaster High School in Ohio. In the spring of 1958, Heft spent nearly 13 hours over one weekend fashioning a new design from his family’s 48-start flag for a U.S. History class project.

Wakeman said Heft was initially given a grade of B-minus for his effort, but his teacher offered to change the grade if Heft could get Congress to accept his design.

After repeated letters and phone calls to his congressman and the White House, President D. Eisenhower notified Bob by phone that his design had been selected as the new U.S. flag through Executive Order 10834, signed on Aug. 21, 1959.

“The story of Bob Heft is especially significant for Saginaw County residents,” Wakeman said.” He was born here and returned here from Ohio following his retirement in 1999. I am honored to posthumously recognize the efforts of my friend and true American patriot through this bill.”

Wakeman led Heft’s funeral service in 2009. Heft is buried in Holy Cross Lutheran Cemetery in Saginaw Township where his grave is marked with a granite 50-star flag.
The epilogue to Heft’s flag project is his teacher made good on his promise and changed his grade to an A.

House Bill 5509 now moves to the House Commerce and Tourism Committee for further consideration.