As July 4th Reminds us to Fly our Flags, “Patriot Love From” Flies a Flag for local Veterans, First Responders, to Honor Them Year-round
Growing up, Will Douglas wanted to be a Ninja Turtle. Once he realized it wasn’t practical — or possible – to be that kind of superhero, he became a pharmacist.
Now he’s the owner of two independent pharmacies, and the first business owner to agree to fly a flag for a veteran with the “Patriot Love From” organization which honors veterans by flying an American flag in a local business for each.
Lynn Maher is picking up the program ten years after the first flag was flown in Pilot Point. The idea came from her late husband Ted, who, like both Lynn and Will, was a success in business but never served in the military. Ted passed away before the program got off the ground.
A sign with a veteran’s name and military branch is located under each flag. The goal is to remember and honor local heroes. Will hopes to expand the program to south Dallas, Duncanville and DeSoto where many veterans and first responders live.
Will says he is not a hero, but he IS working to make the world a better place and flying a flag for veterans is just the beginning. Like Lynn, he hopes to see the program spread throughout the state and nation, putting our military and first responders in the limelight.
Born in Duncan, Oklahoma, Will grew up in Marietta and graduated from Marietta High School where he played basketball, ran track, and was a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council.
He attended the University of Oklahoma, where he was President of the Pre-Pharmacy Association, a YMCA basketball coach, a High School Leadership Conference Group Leader and emcee, and a Camp Crimson group Leader.
After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies, he attended The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, to become a pharmacist. During his time in pharmacy school he was a leader in many areas including Chapter President of the National Community Pharmacists Association; Make a Wish Chair; College of Pharmacy mentor; College of Pharmacy Ambassador; and a leader in four areas of the Health Sciences Center Student Association including Class Senator and Community Service Chair.
Growing up, Will said his role model was his uncle. He “was the only person I knew who fit my idea of success. He was a pharmacist and owned several pharmacies in Duncan, OK. Having a narrow perspective, I believed that the only way I could be successful was if I did the same.” Will landed a job with Walgreens in Dallas but knew he wanted to run his own business one day.
Investing In His Community
In a few short years Will worked to put together financing to invest in his community through independent pharmacies in areas where Texans need them. Crimson Care Pharmacy Group was created to ensure independently owned community pharmacies survive and thrive in a changing healthcare world as they face the challenges of large pharmacy chain expansion, buyouts, and customer demand for the latest technology.
Will, just 32, is the owner of two independent pharmacies, recognizing that there are small towns in north Texas where people need medicine but may be geographically far from it. Will visits each weekly, and when he’s not working, he’s quick to help in his community. He says he often drives through south Dallas and is sad to see people roaming aimlessly. He wants to help anyone out of work who wants a job to find decent employment.
An Early Start To Fund Raising
“There is so much undeveloped land there south of downtown,” he says, “It could house warehouses and factories and provide jobs for those unemployed workers who currently have no hope.” Job training would be key, and he’d like to match current companies with the folks in the south Dallas area who want to work. He’s hoping to network with local agencies already attempting to get the unemployed and underemployed working and is willing to help. His fund-raising skills began in college.
While at OU, he was working at a fund raiser and got a $6 donation from another OU student, Adrian Peterson, who set the NCAA freshman rushing record with 1,925 yards in the 2004 season. Peterson was drafted seventh overall in the 2007 NFL draft. “He almost broke my hand when he shook it,” Will remembered with a laugh. He was already a Peterson fan but even more so after that encounter.
In Dallas a few years later, Will admits he was truly starstruck as he was walking out of Hotel ZaZa and met Dallas Cowboys great Michael Irvin. “My brain immediately transformed from a 30-year-old adult to a 10-year-old boy’s watching the Cowboys on Sunday.”
Dallas Business Journal 40 Under 40
Chosen as a Dallas Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 awardee Will says he has no special talent, just an honest desire to be successful. While in pharmacy school he often felt like a “round peg and pharmacy school was a square hole.” An excellent high school and college student, pharmacy school presented a true challenge. “For the first time in my life I was failing tests and classes. I almost quit multiple times but fortunately I had friends and family that talked me out of it.”
Accepted into a leadership tract his second year, he hit his stride. “It became something within the school that I could thrive at. For someone who had always been a high achiever that was important.”
After graduating from pharmacy school, he moved to Dallas with a purpose: to make it his forever home. He lived in The Village, then Uptown, and recently bought a home in Oak Lawn. He has family members living in Devonshire and Garland.
Ten years from now he knows he’ll still live here, and possibly own another pharmacy or two. He’ll fly a flag for a veteran on his future businesses, too, and says, “Hopefully, I will have made some sort of lasting impact for folks living here who are less fortunate.”
Spoken like a real hero.