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By Chris Carroll

ccarroll@timesfreepress.com

The winner of a citywide contest to design a flag for East Ridge also is a city official.

East Ridge Vice Mayor Tom Card received 66 percent of the online votes to choose a flag design from 18 contestants.

"The vote was done through an audit where it had to be done professionally," Mr. Card said. "I just happened to be the winner of that."

The online vote was supervised by Chattanooga accounting firm Johnson, Hickey and Murchison. Voters and artists proved residence in East Ridge to become eligible.

Mr. Card's orange-and-white banner features East Ridge's emblematic pioneer mixed with elements of Tennessee's state flag. It is the first city flag in East Ridge's 89-year history.

Officials celebrated the occasion at East Ridge City Hall on Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., joined them and resented an American flag that flew above the U.S. Capitol to fly with the new East Ridge flag.

"The real value in our state is not necessarily in those big cities," Rep. Wamp said, "but it's in those small towns and communities like East Ridge, where really good and decent people are trying to help others. It always gets back to us here at the local level, so I'm really grateful that I grew up here."

Rep. Wamp is leaving Congress to run for governor.

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