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‘Old Glory’ flying again at Pine Island Center

By Staff | Nov 11, 2015

On Friday, Nov. 6, representatives from the Pine Island American Legion and the Pine island VFW arrived at Island Center to celebrate the raising of the flag.

“The flag has not been flying for several months,” Lynda Newman said. “The halyard at the top of the pole was damaged months ago and we’ve been without a flag ever since. When I contacted Tom Lewis at the American Legion, he was more than willing to help us get the flag flying again.”

Newman first became involved after Hurricane Charley. When the storm tore through Pine Island on Aug. 13, 2004, it left extensive damage in its wake – including the flag pole at the Island Center. At about the 3-foot mark, the flag pole was bent 30-35 degrees.

“For some, the bent pole at the center served as a reminder of what we all went through at the hand of Hurricane Charley,” Newman said. “But after a few years, I felt we should put that experience behind us and look ahead. I always enjoyed seeing the flag flying there so I made it my mission to find a way to replace or straighten the pole.

“The original thought was to straighten it,” Newman continued. “But after several discussions with structural engineers and a couple of welders, this couldn’t be done. The solution was to simply cut the bent portion off and reinstall the pole.”

Dominic Pipio Jr., owner of All Phase Electric, came to the rescue. After reading an article in the Eagle, he wanted to do something to restore the flag. The Jan. 19, 2011, issue of the Pine Island Eagle celebrated the raising of the flag under the headline, “Old Glory waves once again at island center.”

In recent months, Newman noticed that the flag was once again missing and she contacted Lewis, adjutant at Pine Island American Legion Post 136. Lewis contacted Gerard’s Tree Service and had the halyard repaired. Once the repairs were made, the flag raising was scheduled.

About 35 Pine Island Elementary students marched down Stringfellow Road, led by their principal Rob Mazzoli. The students presented a song to the crowd. Alongside the students stood the Color Guard.

“It is truly an honor for me to be the master of ceremonies at this very special event,” Lewis said. “We gather here today for a patriotic and solemn purpose – to witness the presentation of the flag of our country to Pine Island by the American Legion and the VFW. I would like to recognize Lynda Newman for starting the process of restoring the flag after Hurricane Charley and being instrumental in this flag raising today.”

Commander Larry Nixon from American Legion Post 136 presented the colors.

“Will the Color Guard display the colors please,” Nixon said. “In the name of Pine Island American Legion Post 136, I dedicate these colors. May they fly truly as the emblem of our country.”

During the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, the flag was once again raised over Pine Island Center.