Old Glory Flies Again
Flag again displayed at Grocery Outlet
It’s back. After 331 days, Old Glory is back on top and waving from its high post at Grocery Outlet at Olive and D Street, thanks to Alvino Levario III, and the few good men he got together to help him get the flag pole repaired.
“If I can put this in one word, it would be blessed,” said Darwin Lara, owner of Grocery Outlet. “We’re blessed for having a community behind the project — from Alvino and Cyndi (his mom)
and all the people donating their time for a good cause. There’s no words. I was worried, with (Flag Day) approaching and still no flag.”
Lara said he takes no credit whatsoever, adding Cyndi Lovario was the backbone of the project.
“I want it to continue forever,” he said about having the flag there. “With me or without me, it must continue.”
Cyndi Lovario said the Porterville Flag Day Committee usually starts meeting in January but she suddenly realized it was April and she had not heard a word about a meeting.
“Darwin was also on the committee last year so I called him and he had not heard anything,” Cyndi Lovario said. “So I told him I’d check into it. Then my son kept asking ‘What’s happening with the flag?’ and that started both of us going.”
But Cyndi gives most of the credit to her son, Alvino Lovario III., in being proactive in taking care of the problem.
“He’s always been very patriotic. He joined the Army Reserves just before graduation,” his father, Alvino Jr. said. “His grandfather is a World War II veteran, his uncle was in Vietnam.”
In addition, his friend’s father, George James, served in the U.S Navy during the Korean conflict.
So after repeatedly asking his mother, who serves on the Porterville Flag Day Committee, when the flag would fly again, and with his mom not able to give him an answer, Alvino, of Elevated Energy and Construction, decided to take matters — buying a flag, renting a lift, buying the parts, and repairing the flag pole himself — into his own hands.
“He, with help from his partner, Thomas James, took it upon himself to fix it,” said his mother.
And because they’re not allowed to use the huge flag which had been designated towards being raised in June, Lovario, the son, went ahead and purchased a 10 by 15-foot American flag. The one which has flown there in the past, Thomas said, was 22 by 40 feet.
“It’s not as big as people are used to but it will be a nice size up there,” Lovario Jr. said.
Thomas said he and Lovario III went up Tuesday morning to see how things looked.
“It was really high up there and it was freezing,” Thomas said. “We replaced the pulley topper and checked things out.”
Then, as Thomas, his father, and another friend waited, Lovario III, ran to pick up an eyelet they needed but returned to find out it was a little too small. He once again ran to get a larger eyelet.
“We’re replacing the pulley, the cable, all the points that move up and down, and the flag,” Thomas said. “We estimated four hours to get this done. But we’re almost done. Once he gets back, it should only be a few minutes.”
When Alvino III returned, the two men went up in the lift once again.
“They’re adjusting the cables to the right size and pulling it all together,” Alvino Jr. said as he watched his son. “He’s come to this since he was a little boy. I’m thinking he was 10 years old or younger. He’s been helping his mother for a long time.”
Both parents said they were proud of their son.
“He was willing to cover all the costs but they were so much more than anticipated,” Cyndi Lovario said by phone. “Especially the Boom. You won’t believe how expensive those things are to rent.”
The cost, not counting the labor of Alvino III and the two other men, was $2,250 for the lifts — rented on two separate days, once to go up to see the damage and measure the size of the parts that were needed, and on Tuesday to go up and fix the problem. And a little more than $800 for parts.
The trouble with the flag pole was discovered on June 14, Flag Day, of 2021 when the American Flag was coming down to be replaced with a new one. Along the way, it stalled, and though the old flag eventually was removed — the new flag was never raised, pending the replacement of what they believed at the time to be a frozen pulley but turned out to be it also needed new gears.
“Look at that,” Lovario Jr. said as he watched the flag go up and fly. “A little more wind and it will really fly. We had great wind yesterday, but not today. It’s awesome. He has a lot of extended family who are police officers and when they see this flag flying every day, it makes them proud.”
He continued watching until his son came down. Then the father, with an arm behind his son’s back, stood side by side looking up
“This feels pretty good,” Lovario III said. “It looks good.”
They were not the only ones watching. As customers left Grocery Outlet, many could be seen with their heads tilted back as they watched the flag waving.
Customers at Grocery Outlet had been constantly asking or calling about the status of the flag.
“This is going to make their day,” Lara said. “I would love for the community to come out and support our flag ceremony. We’ve waited a long time. It’s time to go all out and celebrate our flag.”
Lovario III said it was all worth it.
“I kept driving by here every day and still nothing was up, so we just had to make it happen,” Lovario III said. “We just made it happen. We did it for family and for the community”
The new flag will fly on the pole through Flag Day 2022, at which time, it will be lowered and the giant flag raised.
Anyone interested in donating towards the cost of the repairs can call American Legion Post 20 Commander Mike Smith at 559-310-8703.