What started with a tragedy that hit too close to home quickly became an incredible way to honor the fallen.
Daniel Thomasson is a Paramedic in York, South Carolina and serves as the District Chief for Piedmont Medical Center EMS. While he’s not working to save injured civilians, he runs a wood working business.
He never thought the two worlds would connect in the way they did.
Then one day, it happened. In January of 2018, 4 officers were shot in the line of duty, killing Detective Michael R. Doty and sending the others to the hospital. Right after, Thomasson saw yet another tragedy unfold as 6 additional officers were shot, resulting in the death of 2.
Thomasson hated seeing how often police were being targeted and wanted to know what he could do to help. So after a night on the couch and a few drinks of Jim Beam, he came up with the idea on how he would give back to these departments.
Thomasson went into his workshop and created a handcrafted wooden American flag. He engraved the stars and stripes as well as the name of the fallen officer, then finished it off with a thin blue line across the middle. When it was finished, he sent it along to the department as a gift and a memorial.
Flags for the Fallen was born right there.
Thomasson made it his personal goal to craft and mail a memorial for each officer that gives the ultimate sacrifice. He has a website where people can sponsor the creation and donation of these wooden flags. Each flag is just $35 and allows Thomasson to craft the memento out of red oak and then send it along to the respective department that is experiencing the tragic loss of one of their own. Flags of the Fallen is willing and able to create flags for police, fire and EMS agencies.
To date, 55 flags have been created and sent to agencies across the country.
Each flag that Thomasson crafts includes a laser engraving of the name of the sponsor who made it possible. He says that he has had businesses reach out to sponsor as many as 10 flags at a time.
Since starting the non-profit organization, Thomasson has been able to help other local agencies as well. He was commissioned to create special flags featuring the York County badge and insignia from other fire departments, which he sold and donated all of the profits back to organizations like the Burned Children’s Fund.
Thomasson’s mission has been met with overwhelming support, with sponsorships pouring in from all over the country. He released information about donations for the flags and within 57 minutes, all 10 flags in the plan had been funded. Within the next 24 hours, 27 more joined that list.
When Law Enforcement Today spoke to Mr. Thomasson, he mentioned that he didn’t expect it to take off like it did, but because of the outpouring of help, he had some big plans for the future.
He says that after a department told him that they had presented the donated flag to a fallen officer’s wife, it made him want to double down on the original mission.
He aims to step up the sponsorship cost to allow for the creation of two flags – one for the department and one for the grieving family members.
Additionally, he would like to raise more money for the fund and be able to create a scholarship for a graduating student. The money would go to a high school senior in the country who had lost their parent in the line of duty.
Those looking to sponsor a flag or find out more information about Flags for the Fallen can go to their Facebook page or their website. Shirts are available as well.
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