From a Hospital in Las Vegas, to a Flag Store in Green Bay…
Last November, Robert and I (Stacey) sold our home, loaded the moving truck, and made the 1,800-mile relocation journey to the Midwest. We had decided to hedge our bets on the family business and purchase Fly Me Flag as my parents prepared for their well-deserved retirement. We knew little about flagpoles, business operations, or the Green Bay area. Sure, we both grew up in Wisconsin (Robert in West Allis, and myself in Fond du Lac), but we’d been gone a long time and were relocating from (gasp!) Sin City.
In a tight-knit community where people are born, raised, and so often remain, we’ve been hesitant to advertise that we’re from Las Vegas, probably for fear of being viewed as strangers… outsiders… newcomers... However, with this week’s devastating mass shooting and the heroic stories arising from our hometown, we are compelled to share our story and our love for the Las Vegas community.
As a teenager, Robert moved to Northern Nevada and later bounced from Colorado, to Utah, to Montana, back to Colorado, finally settling in Vegas in 2008. After graduating from UW-La Crosse in 2003, I relocated to attend graduate school at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) and quickly acclimated to the Vegas climate and lifestyle. Then, in 2011, I landed a great job with a local hospital system and encountered a handsome man whose name badge was suspended from a Green Bay Packers lanyard. We made the connection, collaborated as colleagues, eventually became friends, cheered for the Pack on Football Sundays, fell in love, and married in 2014. Robert loves to say that he had to move to Las Vegas to marry a good ol’ Wisconsin girl!
Some of our favorite Vegas memories include hiking at Mount Charleston, dragon boating at Lake Las Vegas, ice skating at The Cosmopolitan, suffering as season ticket holders for UNLV football, golfing all over Southern Nevada, volunteering for community projects, and attending too many outdoor events and concerts to count. Dozens and dozens of concerts! We likely would have bought tickets for last weekend’s Route 91 Harvest country music festival…
As the news flooded in on Monday morning, we were shocked, horrified, and concerned for family and friends. Our Facebook feeds exploded with friends marking themselves as safe, sharing stories of their escape, requesting prayers for family members undergoing surgery, and seeking friends who hadn’t yet checked in. Then, the tone shifted to heroic stories of first responders, hospital workers, Good Samaritans, and generous donors. We have friends that attended the concerts the previous nights, some that had planned to go but gave away their tickets, and some who were on duty at the hospital and working as first responders. We are grateful and blessed that everyone we know is safe.
The President issued a flag-lowering order on Monday morning, triggering our customers to visit their flagpoles. Customers discovered that flags were tattered, that their flag could not be lowered because the flagpole required maintenance, and that they didn’t know how to lower a telescoping flagpole to half-staff. As a result, many of you called on Fly Me Flag this week and through those interactions, you shared your stories. We heard about your weddings, concert experiences, trips to the Hoover Dam, and recent Vegas vacations and we shared in your disbelief, fear, and anger, coupled with your compassion, determination, and hope!
This week, as our American liberties are once again threatened by a senseless act of terrorism, we are reminded of our nation’s strength, resilience, and unity. Robert and I are heartbroken for our hometown, yet also so proud and humbled to operate a business that is literally centered around the greatest symbol of freedom the world has ever known. As flags are returned to full-staff and black mourning ribbons are removed this evening, we will honor America’s founding principles of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
We love Las Vegas and now we love Green Bay! We took the boomerang route, but we’re enjoying our return to Wisconsin. Thank you for welcoming us to this awesome community, for entrusting us with your flag and flagpole needs, and for allowing us to continue serving you in the Fly Me Flag tradition!
Stacey & Robert Stewart