Brian Steorts was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne before leaving active duty to study at the University of Alabama. After 9/11, Steorts felt called to return and joined Air Force Special Operations Command.
“On 9/11, I was in a macroeconomics class at the University of Alabama,” Steorts said, “And just like most that day, I was enraged. I knew I needed to return to military service because I had more work to do. Back then, everyone flew their flags, but then they went away. I didn’t forget, I haven’t forgotten, and I’ll never forget. Where is your flag?”
In 2013, after serving in eight consecutive deployments, Steorts came home. While rehabbing from a service-related injury, he took up woodworking after searching for and failing to find a wooden American flag made in the United States.
When initial attempts failed to produce a product Steorts was proud of, he became obsessed with woodworking and grew from novice to craftsman. In 2015, after donating several of his pieces to the families of fallen Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) soldiers, he transformed his passion into a business by starting Flags of Valor.
Located in Ashburn, Va., Flags of Valor is a veteran-owned, veteran-operated company that creates gorgeous combat veteran-made works of all-American art. The showroom walls are covered in beautifully handcrafted wooden flags, each unique piece bearing the signature of the veteran who created it.
In the summer of 2016, Flags of Valor began working alongside the NRA, and, in conjunction with veteran Mark Geist, it created a special edition handmade piece for the 2018 Friends of NRA Standard Merchandise Package.
This fall Flags of Valor will be launching a new product line in collaboration with Tactical Walls, allowing it to deliver handmade products that incorporate Tactical Walls’ expertise in home concealment solutions. One of those new products will be featured in the 2019 Friends of NRAStandard Merchandise Package, which will be available for purchase at Friends of NRA events.
Flags of Valor reaches out to the community in other ways as well. “We’ve had an opportunity to create a team building event,” Steorts said. “These events allow other companies to get out of their [office], get into our workshop and work alongside our combat-veteran craftsmen, creating something unique for them to take home, give to clients or employees, or hang in their office.” Next year the NRA Field Operations division will get to experience one of those workshops.
Flags of Valor is not just a business that provides Americans with exceptional products, but also a representation of the spirit behind the company. Driven by Steorts passion, it employs veterans and fosters an environment where combat-veterans can come and find brotherhood—plus, it raises money for veteran and first-responder charities.
When Steorts first started woodworking, he was trying to create a product that would answer the question, "Where's your flag?” Now, Flags of Valor answers that question. Get your flag at your local Friends of NRA event.
Click here to find a Friends of NRA fundraising event near you, and learn about The NRA Foundation efforts it supports at nrafoundation.org.