RANDOLPH — A donation from a Massachusetts insurance executive means the American flags can go back up on utility poles in this riverfront town in time for the Fourth of July.

Plans to mark Randolph’s transportation corridors with flags for the summer were derailed when the volunteers learned the town lacked the liability coverage required by the owners of the poles — Central Maine Power and Fairpoint Communications. And the flags that had gone up and had to come down.

Jim Kimball, who has spearheaded the project with the Randolph Fire Association, said he received a call Wednesday from Roy Solomon, president of Amity Insurance in North Quincy, Massachusetts, who said he was sending a check by express mail to cover the cost of the $500 insurance rider needed for the $5 million in liability insurance the utility companies require for anyone who wants to attach anything to their poles.

“It surprised the crap out of me,” Kimball said. “It’s tough to believe there are still people like this out there.”

Solomon, via email, said Thursday he had seen an online version of the story in an insurance journal and thought it would be a shame if the flags were not up for the Fourth of July.

“Because of the fear of being sued and the cost of litigation, everyone is afraid to do things that might get them sued,” Solomon said. “People won’t stop to help someone in need because they’re afraid. People stopped getting involved when they see bad behavior. So when given the opportunity to make a difference, I see it as an opportunity and I’m grateful to be able to help. Please ask people to watch the movie ‘Pay it Forward,’ and follow the model.”

The movie, released in 2000, details a goodwill networking movement developed by an 11-year-old boy as a project for his social studies class.

When the check arrived Thursday, Kimball said, he got the paperwork he needed and drove straight to Augusta to hand-deliver it to Central Maine Power. From there, he said, the paperwork was faxed to Fairpoint Communications and back to the town, and from there to the Maine Municipal Association, through which the town of Randolph gets its insurance. If the final details are lined up Friday, the flags are expected to go up first thing Saturday morning.

Raising the money for the flags has been a community event.

Donation jars have been deployed in stores throughout town, including at Randolph Hardware, which also has publicized the effort on its electronic sign on Water Street.

Assistant Manager Lindsay Putnam said Kimball was excited when he stopped by Wednesday to check the donation jars and she gave him the news of the donation.

Putnam said he’s kept the notice for the Randolph flag fund on the sign when he took on sign duties at the store.

Kimball originally had wanted to put up 50 flags, but he and fellow volunteers were able to raise enough to pay for only 20. If more donations come in, he said, more flags will go up.

“If they need to order more flags, we can get them in in a couple of days,” Putnam said.

A CMP spokeswoman said last week that the company has a process in place to approve what it calls “municipal decorative temporary attachments,” which includes flags. While the power company charges no fee, it does require, among other things, that applicants show proof of insurance with a minimum liability limit of $5 million.

“There’s no magic to the number,” spokeswoman Gail Rice said. “This is the figure that we came up with. It protects us and it protects the towns.”

Other cities and towns across the region have been putting flags up for the summer season for a number of years.

This year is a significant year for Randolph to join their ranks.

“It’s the 150th anniversary of Togus this year,” Kimball said. Togus, in Chelsea, is where the VA Maine Healthcare Systems campus is located. One of the routes to reach it runs right through Randolph. He said he’s happy the veterans will get a chance to see the flags when they travel through the town between now and when they come down, probably over the Labor Day weekend.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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