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Veteran’s Day is a time to honor those who have fought for our freedom, a time to revere the memory of what they have done. What’s more, it is a time to show patriotic spirit alongside the brave men and women who are still fighting to preserve that freedom. In Beach Lake, PA, there’s a man who’s got a business doing just that, all year long.
Ryan Thumann, owner and operator of Grain to Glory Flag Company, beams with a patriotic spirit when asked about his flags. “It’s just my way of giving back,” he says, referring to those who have served in the military. While some show their love for this country through service, he shows his by pouring his workmanship into the personal manufacturing of these flags.
“Each one is made by hand,” he explains. His helper Mike Wasylyk in the background demonstrates Thumann’s point as he meticulously paints and moves flags around on a long workbench. Asked about how it all started, Thumann says, “We started about two years ago. A tree fell on a cottage at the Beach Lake Resort where I worked, and I decided to make a flag from the wood just for myself. A friend asked for one, then another, and before I knew it the business just took off.” With a laugh he adds, “I never thought it’d be like this,” gesturing at all the finished flags on the walls.
"I decided to make a flag from the wood just for myself. A friend asked for one, then another, and before I knew it the business just took off.”
Thumann’s experience in woodworking comes from working with his father and uncle, who both have experience in cabinetmaking and custom kitchen design. His uncle owns Beach Pond Woodworking in Beach Lake. Now, with his own business thriving, Thumann produces over 30 flags a week by hand, adding many personal touches and requested embellishments depending on the order.
He has made flags with engravings and paintings, all done by hand. Some of these embellishments include military logos from the various branches, 9/11 memorial flags, club logos, or even an engraved name of a member of the service. Thumann believes that doing these additions by hand enhances not only to the quality of the flags, but also the meaning behind them.
Grain to Glory Flag Company also donates flags every month to worthy groups and organizations. The NRA, various cancer benefits and Sacramento’s K-9 unit are among these. Thumann supports his local community with his work as well. Last winter, when the Jonas’s barn burned and there was a relief fundraiser, one of Thumann’s flags was donated to help raise funds to help them out. On just a short drive through Wayne County, one might run across any number of Thumann’s flags. Since they are built to last, they can be seen both indoors and outdoors, hanging on barns and other businesses such as Sage Investments on Boyds Mill Road in Milanville, PA.
Thumann says that all of the wood and hardware used to construct his flags are locally sourced. He gets the wood from Callicoon Supply or Estemerwalt Lumber Products. Not so local are his customers. While many local folks do support Grain to Glory flags, Thumann says that he just recently made sales to the last of the 50 states. “Hawaii and Alaska were the last to check off,” he said. With those last two states, the company’s flags now “fly” all over the country. Grain to Glory is still growing and improving not only its own craftsmanship, but the styles and designs of their flags. It shares its flags at shows from here to Atlantic City and many other locations.
You can view Thumann’s flags on Facebook.com or on his website graintoglory.com/gallery. They can be purchased by calling 570/493-9178.