A car drives by and honks.
Oorah,George Dennis, 58, yells. Its a battle cry from the Marines.
Every Monday to Friday, from 7:30 to 9:30a.m. and again from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.George Dennis holds a flag outside on the sidewalk of Reynolds Air and Heat off US 1.
For Dennis, waving Old Glory means protecting freedoms. Freedoms that he believes are always on the edge of being taken away.
In August, Zach Reynolds,45, owner of Reynolds Air and Heat off US 1 went on a search last August to find someone to hold a sign outside of his shop. Reynolds said he served in the Marine Corp for a year 1996 to 1997 before leaving with a back injury.
Reynolds said, there are so many homeless people that are holding signs. Reynoldsfigured maybe one could hold a sign for his shop during high traffic hours instead of panhandling.
So every time Reynolds saw someone holding up a sign asking for money, he would offer them a job holding up a sign for his shop instead. Reynolds saidbetween 15 and 18people rejected his offer before he saw Dennis one day in August, riding by with a veterans hat on his head and a Marines flag and American flag mounted on the back ofhis three wheeled bike.
Dennis, who is homeless, told Reynolds that he, too, had served in the Corps.
Reynolds asked him to work for him and since then, for the past nine months Dennis has never shown up late to work or missed a day.
For a man in his position you have every reason to be in a bad mood on a daily basis, Reynolds said. Yet,hesaid, Dennis shows up on time every day with a smile on his face.
Lisa Brume,46, Reynold’s office manager, saidDennis will even show up to work when the weather is not good, but when it gets too hot or on stormy days they wont let Dennis work and will let him stay inside the shop.
Reynolds grew up on the Space Coast. He briefly served in the Marines for a year before injuring his back in the 1990s, he said. Reynolds opened Reynolds Air and Heat in 2009. His philosophy when it comes to running his business: God, family, country, Marine Corps.
And that applies to Dennis, too. Dennis is now part of the six person family that works at Reynolds Air and Heat.
Reynolds who has a mural of an American flag painted on the side of his business said he was initially going to give Dennis a sign but since Dennis told him he was a vet and had served as a Marine, he thought hed have him hold an American flag rather than a sign for his shop.
Brume saidReynolds is humble andwont take credit for him (Dennis) despite having given him a purpose.
And hes become a local icon in the meantime. Michelle Watkins,35, a cook at Mustard’s Last Stand, a hot dog standnext to Reynolds Air and Heat said that Dennis has become part of her daily routine. She seeing Dennis wave the flag has become part of her daily routine. Watkins said when we dont see him, we know something is wrong.
Reynolds said the shop will get calls from people when Dennis goes on a water break or uses the restroom concerned that they didnt see him and to check on him.
Dennis now has a bank account and a steady income. The next step said Reynolds is finding Dennis permanent housing.
“A single act of kindness can go a very long way,” Reynolds said.