In the spirit of patriotism, convention-goers can buy wooden flags handcrafted by combat veterans at the 2016 Republican National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio.
Flags of Valor—a veteran owned and operated company—is one of 22 vendors showcasing their product at this week’s event.
Air Force veteran and President of Flags of Valor Brian Steorts said he got the idea for the company after being injured while deployed. He joined the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo to share his story.
“I went to a rehabilitation program and I didn’t wear my uniform anymore, I’m used to having my flag on my shoulder and so it kind of upset me,” Steorts said. “There was a flag that I found that was actually a beautiful flag, but it wasn’t made in the United States, and so for therapeutic reasons I started making my own and I wanted to make it all with materials made in America.”
Steorts said he’d never done woodwork before, but picked up the trade by watching ‘do it yourself’ videos of painting and distressing.
After it became a passion for Steorts, he says he launched the Virginia-based company to offer jobs to veterans.
Flags of Valor now employs five other combat veterans and sells handcrafted U.S. flags named after specific groups of people or military events.
“We’re very old school” Steorts said. “We make everything by hand. We believe Made in America still matters, we believe that our veterans are an untapped resource, and believe in giving back.”
When it comes to hiring, Steorts said he advocates for veterans because they thrive in the workplace.
“It’s a great therapeutic transition for them to go from military lives to civilian and to really search for that camaraderie and brotherhood that we have at our company,” he said. “I’m a veteran myself and I know what drives me and what drives these men and women. They’ve been through some very intense conflicts and they’re very well at handling stress and being in those kinds of environments.”
Steorts said he hopes to spread that message and share his love for America at this week’s convention.
“We’ve gotten to connect with almost every one of our customers in one way or another, and it’s very rewarding to know that something that I started in my garage…. and have gotten to train ally my guys, my team back in Virginia, veteran craftsman,” he said. “It’s self-rewarding and it’s philanthropic when we give back. We love being able to promote patriotism like this.”