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October 31, 2013

Glory in wood: Veteran handcrafting flags in Fly Creek

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The flags are offered in two sizes: Large, 29 inches by 47 inches and small, 19 inches by 29 inches. Large flags are $200 while small flags are $150.

An effort is made to use American made and originating materials.

Butler estimates that he’s made and sold 65 to 70 flags. He says around 30 to 40 have been sold locally, and that they can be seen displayed on a number of area Businesses. They include New York Pizzeria and Green Circle Accounting in Cooperstown and Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard in Fly Creek.

He said he has also sent flags as far away as Texas and Kansas.

Butler says the reactions to his flags have been good, and that most of his business comes from word of mouth.

“The word Americana is used a lot.”

Displaying the flag is important to Butler, who would like to see more open expressions of patriotism.

“Some people made a big sacrifice to fly that flag,” said Butler.

Butler enlisted in the United States Navy when he was 17 years old and served for eight years. Volunteering for service in Vietnam, he was wounded in an ambush, which resulted in him being sent home.

“I was so lucky to come home and still be able to walk,” said Butler, who described his injuries as being a million-dollar wound. He said he still has shrapnel in his body and received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service.

Butler also has Parkinson’s disease, which the Pentagon considers a “presumptive disease.” This means that if you served in Vietnam during time periods and in areas where Agent Orange was used, it is presumed that exposure to Agent Orange, a defoliant deployed by the U.S. Military, caused the disease.

Because of his experiences in the service, Butler is very active in veterans organizations and charities. He said that he would certainly consider donating flags to benefit his fellow veterans, and says he has already donated some of his flags to veteran and non-veteran related causes.

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