By Anna Skinner
To a patriotic soul, there’s not much that is more heartbreaking than seeing a tattered flag still flying. That’s why 2002 Hamilton Southeastern grad and Army veteran Mark Isbell started his business, Hoosier Pole and Flag.
Isbell started serving in the army in 2006, just recently finishing in January of this year. Wanting to return to a community he knew and loved and start his own business, Isbell meshed the two and moved back to Lapel, Ind. where he began his business approximately six months ago.
“I worked at the White House on my last assignment, and the going-away gift they gave me was a White House flag, and it’s pretty special to me,” Isbell said.
Isbell had owned property in Virginia with three flagpoles, which were blown down in a storm.
“Between the flag from the White House and the poles I set up on my property out there, it was something I’ve always wanted to do,” Isbell said.
Isbell’s flag poles are made out of galvanized steel, saying aluminum poles are the ones that broke during the storm on his Virginian property. He said he wanted something sturdier.
Isbell said he wants to “keep (the business) small until it grows,” admitting that his dream is to put up a flag pole of 400 feet. Currently, the poles he’s installed are 20-foot poles.
Yet flagpoles aren’t the only way the Army veteran is showing his patriotic spirit. He is asking for those who have extra, gently used flags to donate so he can replace those that are shredded or hang them on the empty flagpoles he sees.
“How many times have you driven around the country and seen empty flag poles and ones that are shredded? It kind of hurts a bit to see that,” Isbell said. “If I could afford it, I would replace every flag out there.”
As he works another full time job, Isbell does much of his flag business online over his website and the business’s phone line. Between the two jobs, Isbell also finds time to be the service leader at the Lapel American Legion.
Nate Salts, director of operations for Hoosier Pole and Flag, has known Isbell for four years.
“Mark’s a very patriotic person. He really believes in the ideals this country was founded on,” Salts said. “He loves to share those ideals with like-minded people, so he takes what resources he has, and really likes to give back to spread that ideal and help it grow.”
To aid in Lapel’s patriotic spirit, Isbell donated a few flags to the town council to utilize for the 9/11 anniversary.
“Every year from here on out, I’m going to donate the town hall’s flag,” Isbell said. “For me, I wanted to be able to see the symbol that I fought for. It’s your rallying cry. If there’s ever a reason to do what you do, that’s why.”
For more, or donate a gently used flag, visit hoosierpoleandflag.com, or call Isbell at 863-9275.
Meet Mark Isbell
School: Hamilton Southeastern, 2002 graduate.
Military history: Entered the Army in 2006, served in Arizona, Iraq, Tokyo and the White House. Returned to Lapel, Ind. in January 2015.
Hobbies: Taking his Bernese mountain dog on walks and drives, spending time with his family, watching football and volunteering at the Lapel Legion.
Jobs: Founder of Hoosier Pole and Flag, IP Solutions in Noblesville.
Reason for returning to Indiana: Desire to spend more time with family and return to a place he knew and loved.