West Pittsburg octogenarian creates flag for first responders
Originally published in the New Castle News newspaper on October 7, 2015
By Debbie Wachter
Lillian Germaine has taken her profound respect for emergency personnel and put it on a flag.
The 84-year-old West Pittsburg woman has started her own non-profit company called CintoG, with the sole purpose of creating a flag designed for first-responders. She intends to sell the flags and give all the profits to local first-responder units that include police, fire, ambulance or other groups that respond as first on the scene in emergencies.
Germaine presented her first flag to the New Castle Police Department at last month’s New Castle Area School Board meeting, when a city policeman, working as a full-time school district custodian, was honored with his coworkers for saving another co-worker’s life. The group of eight custodians successfully performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on 52-year-old Raymond McHenry III.
“I told him I had to touch him because he is a miracle, a real miracle,” Germaine said of McHenry. “And these men are all so humble about it all.”
“I always had flags in my yard,” she said. She’s seen them for police departments and fire departments, but she’s never seen a flag that represented all first responders — police, fire, ambulance or other who are first on the scenes of emergency situations.
“I decided to make one,” she said. Her nephew, Tom Carangie of Erie, who is a graphics artist, designed it. The “made in America” flags are being manufactured by a company near Philadelphia, she said.
The flags are available in a 5-by-8-foot size to fly as a banner or for a ceremony, and in 3-by-5 foot size. They may be ordered by calling (724) 535-1110.
Germaine also is planning to have the flags available by online orders through a website that is to be designed by New Castle high school students. Debbie DeBlasio, assistant to the superintendent, said she is helping her with that effort.
Germaine said she hopes to have her organization flying the flags at this year’s annual Light-Up-Night parade on Nov. 12.
Her non-profit board for the company has six members.
“I gathered people who I knew had the same heart about it,” she said.
It’s taken her 2 1/2 years, working with marketing companies and attorneys and setting up a 501-C3 status as a non-profit to get her flag project moving.
“All I wanted to do was make a flag, but you have to do it the right way,” she said.