EDINBURG Hidalgo County received notice today from the Governor's office approving County Judge Ramon Garcia's request that all state and national flags in the County of Hidalgo and any adjoining political subdivisions may be lowered immediately to half-staff in honor of the life and military service of United States Army Specialist Kurt W. Kern of McAllen, Texas who died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Paktia Province, Afghanistan.

Flags should return to full-staff Saturday, December 31, 2011. Flags may be lowered again once the family makes final arrangements for the funeral services.