A Heartwarming Tale
Author: John Healy
This month can be a time for love stories…this is a different kind of love story…one of love for man/womankind. Some people don’t like the winter, so hopefully, this story reaches them and many more….and warms many hearts.
When I first spoke to Frank LoBue I knew he was special because I was *Smiling through the whole phone call. Not only was he charismatic and humorous on the phone, but it was a *Joy to listen to his stories…and he loved to talk, so it was a pleasure from the start. Frank LoBue is a World War II veteran and was a combat aidman to General Patton. Frank told me he was wounded on more than one occasion during the war, but he joked, ‘’Patton, that son of a gun, he never got a scratch.’’
Several years ago, Gates Flag and Banner had the privilege to install a flagpole for this special gentleman and also make some custom flags for him to reflect his great service to our country. He was very happy with his purchase and had the flagpole beautifully landscaped. He often called me to thank our company and tell me more wonderful stories.
Several years later, Frank needed service on his flagpole. It wasn’t a major repair, he just needed help with some parts. Since it was our busy season and he was a great distance from our main office, it was going to be nearly impossible to service his flagpole before his 93rd birthday. Some untimely issues arose and it looked like I would have to disappoint this wonderful friend. Since I knew what needed to be done but could not get there in time, and did not want to disappoint, I took a chance and reached out to a perfect stranger. I looked up the local fire department closest to Frank in Rocky Hill, CT and I wrote this letter…
“Hello Chief Mike,
My name is John Healy from Gates Flag and Banner Company in Clifton, NJ.
There is a 93 year old WWII veteran, named Frank LoBue, who lives less than 4 miles from your firehouse, who needs help. He has flags he needs hung on his flagpole…but he also wants to change the rope. I sent him the flags and the rope but I am not sure when I will be in his area. I was wondering if you might know someone who would be interested in helping him. I have a drawing that shows how to re-rope from the ground if you have a person in mind.
I would be happy to talk to anyone you think you may interested in helping Frank. He is a great guy to talk to, a hero in my opinion, who was an Aidman (Medic) to General Patton….and I am trying to figure out a way to help him…this is me taking a chance.
Please let me know
Thank you! “
This was his reply…
“The Rocky Hill Fire Department would be more than happy to help. Please send me all pertinent information including his address and I will send a crew to make sure this gets done properly. It’s an honor to be able to help a veteran. Feel free to call me with any questions. Mike.”
I instructed Chief Mike to “give Frank a call, hang up and then call him again and he’d pick up the phone. Then tell Frank when you’re coming.” I thanked Mike profusely before happily hanging up the phone.
A couple of days later I gave Frank a call to see if he was happy to have his flags flying on his newly roped flagpole….and he had no idea what I was talking about. Of course, I was confused and told him the story and he said ‘’nope nobody called me.’’
I called the Rocky Hill Fire Department again and Chief Mike told me that they went to Frank’s house…. and the feisty guy told them to get off his property. When I phoned Frank back, he said “oh yeah, two big galoots came here but I didn’t know what they wanted so I chased them away!”
I got both Frank and the Rocky Hill Fire Department on the same page and they did take care of Frank LoBue’s flagpole in time for his 93rd birthday! Frank and I are very grateful for the Rocky Hill Fire department for being the very willing solution to our dilemma and making a truly heartwarming ending to this story.