Cleveland’s Carol Bandy, and others across the nation, have joined a national organization to recognize our veterans and salvage a portion of our nation’s retired flags.
They have joined up with the Stars for our Troops program.
The program was started by Susan E. Wells in Troy, N.Y., and is an effort to thank members of our military who have served, and are serving.
Wells and her associates use retired American flags. They have contacted businesses, organizations, and individuals over the past few years in an effort to collect old flags for use in the program. Thousands of flags have been used in the recognition of U.S. veterans, and those now serving in the military.
Bandy said she provided the program with a donation, and they sent her 50 stars trimmed from a retired American flag. She has been handing them out to veterans in the Cleveland/Bradley County area.
Gettysburg Flag Works in East Greenbush, N.Y., is one company which has embraced the program, and is working closely with Wells in distributing the flags..
Cheryl Rings of Gettysburg Flag Works said,”We have seen thousands of flags come through our doors which then made their way into the hands of veterans and soldiers. We proudly offer stars in our showroom and carry them to events.”
The company began its participation in 2013 with a "star party," where they gathered volunteers to process the flags and pouch the stars into the finished product.
“The program has become a part of who we are and the volunteers have become family,” Rings added. “It is a wonderful program for all ages to enjoy and it can help teach your children the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform give every day.”
The Stars for our Troops program takes old, tattered and worn out American Flags and turn them into a prized possession for an American Soldier at home, on base or overseas. Volunteers lovingly cut each embroidered star from the flag, dispose of the stripes properly, and place each star into a tiny plastic bag with a card.
The card reads:
"I am part of our American flag that has flown over a home in the U.S.A. I can no longer fly. The sun and winds have caused me to become tattered and torn. Please carry me as a reminder that you are not forgotten."
Each American Flag can touch the lives of 50 American Soldiers even after it's reached the end of it's flying days!
You can send your old American Flag with embroidered stars, and the program will see that they are cleaned and each embroidered star makes it's way to an American soldier. To save on shipping, collect your neighbors' flags too, and send them all at once. For large shipments, you should call in advance (518-235-1558). It helps us to schedule volunteers to process the flags.
The address is: Attn: Stars for our Troops, Gettysburg Flag Works, 715 Columbia Turnpike, East Greenbush NY 12061.
The program emphasizes there is an ongoing need for these stars as we have troops leaving for combat all the time, and returning home where they need to integrate back into society. Places that might get the most exposure are facebook, twitter, blogs or personal websites.
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