LIMA — Mary Leavitt, owner of a flag store in Columbus, spoke to the Allen County Rotary Club at the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center on Monday
“Patriotism is in my blood,” Leavitt said.
She said an ancestor on her father’s side left Ireland with four boys and those four served in the military during the Revolutionary War.
Leavitt was the only one of six grandchildren who noticed her grandmother carried a 4-by-6-inch flag around with her, she said. One day Leavitt asked her grandmother why she carried the flag. Her grandmother replied, “Mary Margaret, who knows, I might get a chance to wave it today,” Leavitt said.
When she was 5 years old, her older brother Bobby, who was 15 years older, served in the Navy during World War II, she said. Her parents flew a flag and dressed her in red, white, and blue outfits.
The first sales of flags happened when her son had joined the Navy, like her brother, and was sent into the Iranian crisis, Leavitt said.
At this time, she scoured Libertyville, Illinois, for an American flag to fly to show her support for her son and the other sailors but could only find someone selling flags wholesale. She convinced the man to sell her an individual flag. Through some persuasion, she convinced him to let her sell flags for him in her community, Leavitt said.
When she returned to Columbus, an acquaintance who was a World War II veteran, Bob Caldwell, convinced her to sell flags full time and gave her a car to use. Her aunt gave her $5,000 to help her get started and she began selling flags full time at her store, The Flag Lady’s Flag Store.
“The Flag Lady’s Flag Store is about service, quality products and timely delivery,” Leavitt said. “It’s about our veterans, customers and Old Glory.”
Reach Bryan Reynolds 567-242-0362