Gander RV company sends message to city of Statesville with TV ad about American flag

New commercial released amid flag dispute

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Gander RV is not giving up its fight to fly a massive American flag in the city of Statesville.

If you watched college football over the weekend you may have seen the Camping World commercial that aired during the game between Miami and Florida.

It showed veterans who work for the company raising a big American flag, like the one in Statesville.

“We gave up a lot of air time to make the point that whether its our employees, or our customers or the people who live in our neighborhoods, we need to be talking about these folks on a daily basis,” CEO Marcus Lemonis said.

It all comes down to honoring veterans.

“I wanted people to understand why we do what we do. It’s not about selling things, it’s about remembering and respecting,” Lemonis said.

City of Statesville Mayor Pro Tem Steve Johnson wants his fellow city council members to watch the ad.

“I hope it influences their decision,” Johnson said. “If just a couple of people in the city of Statesville would change their mind today this would be resolved.”

Veteran Sonny Deal is fighting for the flag at city council meetings.

“It’s a black eye on Statesville to try to say they want to take our country’s flag down just because it’s too large,” Deal said.

Deal says this is bigger than a city ordinance.

“The people have died to keep the flag flying and keep the flag where it needs to be,” Deal said.

Lemonis said the ad does not directly target Statesville, but it was not accidental.

“It was really an appeal to city council members across the country and Statesville,” Lemonis said.

Lemonis guesses his company owes the city $20,000 at this point, accruing a $50 fee each day the flag flies.

They plan to pay it, but the flag is here to stay.

“Under no circumstance is that flag coming down," he said. "None. Zero. Zilch.”

The ad ran nationally for the first time this weekend and will continue to run in their rotation of ads.

The election for city council is coming up. Lemonis said he hopes candidates on both sides of the issue will not use the flag as a political tool.

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.