Veterans build flag cases to replace those made in China

Posted at 10:24 AM, Nov 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-11 16:10:05-05

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. -- Under a waving flag at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Williamstown, there are at least 16 veterans who died alone.

The cemetery keeps their flags in case a relative does come back, but so far just one has been claimed, according to Alvin Duncan, the cemetery director.

"That's probably the hardest thing," he said.

Now, a Kentucky organization is giving disabled veterans jobs while helping to honor deceased veterans who have no one else left to remember them. Set up in a makeshift warehouse in Florence, Operation Honor hires disabled veterans to make flag cases for veterans who died and left no family behind.

The group was formed nearly two years ago, when Duncan called Joe Montgomery about a funeral for Pfc. Harold Laws. He had no family to attend the funeral, so just a handful of strangers attended.

"Here's a veteran we need to pay some respects to and make sure there's someone there to honor his service, at least at his funeral," Montgomery said.

He said the lack of family raised a question: "How often do you receive a flag from a veteran where there's no one there to accept it?"

Duncan showed Montgomery a room with flag cases for those veterans. But the cases for American veterans' flags were made in China.

"Our veterans' cases should not be made in China," Montgomery said.

Now, thanks to Operation Honor, they have new cases made in America by veterans like Samuel Deeds.

But the story doesn't end in Williamstown. Now Operation Honor is making flag cases for veterans buried at Arlington National Cemetery, too.

"If you've got a flag case that says 'handmade by a disabled veteran' and those U.S. flags are going in there, that just means the world to me," Deeds said. "They're not being forgotten."

Operation Honor has also started a GoFundMe page to support the cause. Click here for more info and to make donations.