ASHBURN, VA -- A business in Loudoun County that builds U.S. flags out of wood has a specific requirement for those that create them: they have to be combat veterans.
The company, Flags of Valor, was founded by Brian Steorts, who served in the U.S. Air Force. He said the idea started when he was in rehab recovering from a non-combat related injury and was out of uniform.
"I didn’t have that flag on my shoulder and so I was looking for an American flag for my house, but not the typical nylon one and I found a beautiful wooden American flag, but unfortunately it wasn’t made in America and that upset me," said Steorts. So, he made his own, a version of the 1776 flag. He started making more and giving them away to widows and veterans in his community. "And what I found was that it was a philanthropic feeling, it was a feeling you can’t buy."
From there, he founded Flags of Valor and only hires combat veterans to make the flags. Steorts said 98% of the time, they are just like normal employees.
"It’s the 2% of the time that they really rely on each other from past experiences. We have combat veterans from Vietnam all the way to present day. Guys who have just gotten out within the last three months. So there is something in that 2% of the time that’s really valuable that’s really invaluable. Because they’re able to lean on each other and talk about issues they face when they were deployed or issues maybe they are going through at the VA hospital," added Steorts. He said they have veterans from the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.
The company also creates flags for the service branches and first responders. The latter of which they have donated to sheriff's and fire stations in Loudoun County.
"The firemen and the police officers and the emergency responders, right here in our local counties and our towns and our neighborhoods and our schools districts, they put their life on the line every day and it’s just a way for us to say thank you," added Steorts.
Steorts said the company is getting set to open their third location and it is an honor to create something beautiful that represents many things for many people.
"To be able to promote patriotism everyday by making a simple thing like the American flag is an honor," added Steorts.