For nearly 15 years, Brian Steorts served 8 consecutive combat deployments to the Middle East, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa. After becoming injured on the job, he felt he was missing something during his rehabbing, something he once wore on his sleeve every day that was now gone – that thing was the American flag.
In searching for an American flag, he found one he really liked carved onto wood, but at closer examination, he discovered that the item was made outside of the U.S. As both a veteran and an American, this infuriated Brian and also sparked something in him. He began woodworking, devoting himself to building a handcrafted custom piece of pure Americana. His abilities transformed from novice to craftsman, and he began producing world-class works of art. Brian still remembers the first, and possibly his favorite flag he’s ever made: “I was still wearing a neck brace and working from my garage when a wife of a fallen soldier contacted me looking for a flag to commemorate his passing. With his story in my mind, I worked long and hard to produce a flag that would honor him and his family. In crafting this flag and honoring his personal story I was able to truly give back.”
Brian transformed his passion into Flags of Valor, a Veteran-owned, Veteran-operated, Veteran-made company, crafting beautiful works of American art. Flags of Valor is driven by two distinct ideas: First, that our combat veterans deserve opportunity and second, the belief that “made in America” still matters.
There is very little staff turnover at Flags of Valor, and the reason why is simple. Brian’s employees share the same mentality as him and are just as committed to building these works of art as he is. The staff is comprised of combat veterans, with the majority service-disabled from significant combat-related injuries. He has staff that has served in Vietnam, Desert Storm, the Gulf War, and more. Every flag is built as a team with each vet as part of the process. What’s most special is how, very often, each flag is signed by the veterans that have worked on that flag. Brian adds, “ we often get requests for a marine to sign a flag or to have a specific message on the back, and we are happy to accommodate these requests as it makes these truly personalized flags of valor.”
Each flag is intricately produced using the best selection of wood, nails, and tools including the finest spray equipment from Fuji Spray which uses a powerful turbine motor made in Tennessee. The versatility and power of this sprayer help lay down the perfect red, white and blue stripes on these American-made products!
Brian has made his dream a reality – employing veterans, raising money for veteran and first-responder charities, and providing Americans with an exceptional product. What’s next for Flags of Valor? Brian says he plans to expand by diversifying the flags to include service flags, state flags, and flags from other countries, in addition to making other custom wood products including furniture and cabinetry. He wants to continue to make each piece personal with each piece telling a unique story through wood.