Roosevelt's Eagle

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Updated: Tue, 05 Nov 2013 02:49:38 CST

A piece of presidential history is proudly on display in North Platte, even though not a lot of people pay attention to it.

Upon arrival to the Great Plains Regional Medical Center nothing really seems out of the ordinary, but look closer and you'll see history right before your eyes.

At the entrance of the medical center you'll see a flagpole with a bronze eagle on top. Pretty standard, right? Wrong.  For it was this very bronze eagle that adorned president Theodore Roosevelt's train when he visited North Platte, Nebraska on June 4th, 1903.

So how did this eagle get from a presidents train to on top of the flagpole? It was a presidential heist, orchestrated by three young boys more than 100 years ago.

Back in the early 1900s, U–S presidents traveled by train from town to town spreading their message from the back of the train to the public, and while Theodore Roosevelt was stopped in North Platte, Francis ,Fergus and James K. Flynn and took the eagle from the front of the train.

"And of course, they obviously didn't want to tell their parents about it, so they kept a secret for a long long time. They hid it in a brown paper bag and they kept it secret, and it wasn't until James Flynn mentioned it to his granddaughter Deb Bertrand that he had this eagle in his possession and it was from the presidential train of Theodore Roosevelt," Fiona Libsack, VP Of Marketing/Communications.

When James Flynn passed away his granddaughter Deb Bertrand donated the eagle to the hospital in the 1960's

"Since that time we've had the eagle at two locations, at the old hospital downtown and then at this location and we'll continue it when we have the new facility so it will remain there flying proud with the flag and we'll include the story on your historical wall in the new building," Libsack.

The new patient tower, that's currently under construction, is expected to be complete in spring of 2015.

Plans are already in the works for a historical wall to make sure this unique story never goes missing again.

"Great Plains regional medical center has a rich history as does the North Platte community and we want to make sure that we preserve that in the new facility. We're looking forward to that piece. It's going to be a fun one to research, and we will have some great photography on that wall as well," says Libsack.