Three months after a “Welcome to Flanders” sign was stolen from the hamlet, the spot is no longer vacant. The insurance company Aflac heard about the stolen sign, which bore an image of the iconic Big Duck, and swooped in to help. The new sign was unveiled Monday. NewsdayTV’s Cecilia Dowd reports. Credit: Randee Daddona, Anthony Florio; Photo Credit: Suffolk County Police Department

 A sign stolen in February that honored the rich duck farming heritage in Flanders has been replaced with a new one that has residents feeling ducky.

The new green-and-gold sign at County Road 104 and Pleasure Drive says “Welcome to Flanders: Home of The Big Duck” and bears an image of the iconic Big Duck, the landmark 20-foot-tall, duck-shaped building in the hamlet. The sign was unveiled Monday by Southampton Town officials, members of the Flanders Riverside Northampton Community Association and representatives of insurance giant Aflac.

“We’re so proud of our community,” said Janice Flood, 69, who attended the event.

“It was devastating when the sign was stolen," said Flood, who has lived in Flanders with her husband, Bob, for 45 years. "But we’re so grateful [for the new sign] and we’re definitely going to take care of it.”

The whereabouts of the original sign, which had stood at the corner for about 15 years, remains unknown, officials said.

Aflac heard about the sign’s theft through news reports and offered to replace it at a cost of $7,000, according to company spokesman Jon Sullivan.

Angela Huneault, the association’s president, said the sign holds a special place in the hearts of Flanders residents. When the sign was stolen, “it was like a piece of us was taken.”

“For a very long time, people in the community felt neglected,” Huneault said. “We want people to stay, visit the duck, visit our beaches, visit the beauty of what we have. For us, this sign says, ‘We’re welcoming you.’ It’s our identity.”

Flanders resident Janice Young shared that sentiment. “It’s part of our community pride," she said.

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