As superintendent of the Monroeville Local School District, I am writing this response in support of a local businessman who has been the subject of misinformation and recently come under unfair criticism for the simple act of donating a flagpole to our school district. The donated flagpole is to be placed at Marsh Field where Monroeville High School plays its football games. The business owner I am referring to owns the 7-Eleven store in Monroeville. He purchased the store a little over two years ago. When he first purchased the store he visited our school and, unsolicited, donated a significant sum of money in support of the district. Since that time he has purchased advertising annually in support of the district’s athletic programs. The current donated total exceeds $3,000.
Last fall I approached the American Legion Legionnaires who supply our color guard before the football games and mentioned it would be nice if we had a larger flagpole to accommodate a bigger flag for our home football games. I further indicated that the district was not in a position to purchase a new pole but it might be something we could revisit at a future date. A few weeks later one of the Legionnaires approached me and mentioned he had taken it upon himself to try and locate a flagpole. He said he had visited the local 7-Eleven store and had spoken to the owner about the possibility of donating the flagpole on the west end of his store. I thanked him and told him I would follow up with the 7-Eleven owner on the offer. Football season came to an end without any further discussion or action regarding the pole.
The first game of the football season this year I was again asked by the Legionnaire if I had secured a means to move the pole. I said I had not but would continue to try and find someone who could help with the move. I then went to visit the owner of the 7-Eleven to see if the offer was still good. He indicated that it was and that he did not plan to fly a flag due to the fact a flag had not been flown by the previous owner prior to his purchasing the store and he did not have the personnel necessary to maintain a large flag. Putting it up and down daily as well as replacing it every six months or so due to wear and tear was something he could not commit to. That said, he stated he would be proud to donate the flagpole to the district where it could stand prominently at the football field. I thanked him and asked if he would like a donation certificate for the pole to be used as a tax deduction for his business. He indicated that was not necessary and that he was glad to help the district out in securing a flagpole.
Recently the district was able to have the pole moved to Marsh Field where it will be installed as soon as possible. In light of recent dialog on social media and by word of mouth questioning the motives behind the removal and donation of the flagpole to the school district, I felt compelled to present the actual detail of how the flagpole at the 7-Eleven came to be removed and donated to the district.
It is now my hope and the hope of the Monroeville board of education that any dialog criticizing the 7-Eleven business, its employees or its ownership end.