ST. JOHN — Kansas Dirt Inc., located in St. John, has been getting some publicity on Facebook after Dick Smith, a local photographer, posted a photo of their excavator with a large American flag flying 50 feet in the air along N. US-281 highway in St. John.


"(The) reasoning behind the flag is simple. With the times we are going through, I thought the flag would be a good way to try and spread some much needed patriotism," said Austin Ward, Kansas Dirt Inc. employee. "I think I speak for a lot of people when I say everyone is tired of the political nonsense going on, among everything else with the whole pandemic. I just wanted to hang up something every fellow American could relate to."


Ward said he believes people passing through the area on US-281, going to work, the grocery store, or to the school just might appreciate seeing the flag standing tall on the boom.


"We are all a part of this nation together, and despite the current unrest, we can put our differences aside," he said. "I just hope everyone who catches a glimpse of that flag smiles, feels as if there’s still hope in America. We are not giving up yet."


Ward said he didn’t put the flag on his company’s dirt machine for people to see the name.


"I just picked out the tallest piece of equipment we have and put it as high as I could in hopes I would get as many people to see that flag as I could," he said.


Ward said he has seen a lot of people pulling off the highway for pictures or to just take a second to observe the beautiful view that it creates.


Chad Fisher owns Kansas Dirt Inc., along with a waste container service called Kansas Waste. Fisher is the president of St. John National Bank, so Ward manages the dirt company. It all started with a single piece of equipment bought by Fisher for personal use, and has grown in the last eight years into a company with three full-time employees. Preston Nemec and Nick Schwein work for the company as the other two full-time employees. All three grew up together in St. John and attended North Central Kansas Technical College in Beloit, where they studied heavy equipment operation.


The crew at Kansas Dirt Inc. does exactly what the name says, dirt work. They do anything and everything that has to do with dirt construction, according to Ward. Their GPS-guided machinery allows them to do a lot of drainage work for farmers on their ground.


"We have a wide variety of equipment so we also construct building pads, remove trees, and we also construct or repair a lot of residential and commercial driveways," Ward said.


In addition to that, the company has asphalt milling, rock, top soil, fill dirt and fill sand available for purchase or delivery from their shop in St. John. If a customer chooses, the crew can professionally grade this material.


Kansas Dirt Inc. can be contacted via Facebook or by calling 620-931-3841.