Wow! When I first came up with the idea of soliciting old, tattered flags to be donated for us to cremate with veterans, I thought we might get a dozen or so over time. Then, Karen Daily with the Aiken Standard read my press release and published a story that started the parade of visitors, each carrying a flag (s) to our funeral home.
Unfortunately, The Aiken Standard has let the link expire
My plan is modified from an idea of one of my dearest friends and mentor, Jim Rudolph, founder of Veterans Funeral Care. The plan was to encourage people to bring old flags to our two funeral homes so that every veteran we cremate would be cremated with an American flag. It would be a fitting tribute to our veterans and a patriotic way to “retire” aged flags.
During the first eight hours of daylight after the Aiken Standard hit the streets, we had over forty people brings flags to our funeral home! Kudos to our staff who kept up with regular, daily business as I spent most of my day greeting visitors, accepting their donated flags and listening to their stories.
The response was so great that by Friday morning, Vicky Locklair, our office manager at the funeral home suggested calling WJBF, the ABC affiliate in Augusta, GA to tell them the story of how our community was pitching in for a worthwhile cause.
The Newsroom at WJBF jumped right on it and by noon, Archith Seshardi was at the funeral home. As he pulled into our parking lot, two people were leaving after delivering flags. We did a 20-minute interview that resulted in WJBF opening their 5pm news with a story about the flags.
This morning, the visitors continued and we received about 20 more flags today. One couple drove from the west end of Augusta (45 minutes) to bring a few flags. When the mail was delivered this afternoon, there was a flag in a padded envelope!
I want to thank the many people who have taken the time to support this effort, especially to folks at The Aiken Standard and WJBF in Augusta. Without their reach into the community, we never would have been able to get the word out and couldn’t have done this without them.