Private Company Fast-Tracked 7,000 American Flags to Save a War on Terror Veteran Memorial

When torrential rains from a nor’easter threatened the continuation of the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial in Providence, Rhode Island, Ocean State Job Lot dug into its own pockets to save the day.

For the past two years, 7,000 American flags, boots, and placards covered Roger Williams Park on Memorial Day to honor local veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. However, according to WPRI, heavy rains from a nor’easter leaked into a garage where the flags were being stored.

Organizer Dee Rothermel said when they opened the bin, the flags were soaked and had already begun growing mold, which made her heart drop.

The loss of the flags put the memorial in jeopardy — that is, until Ocean State Job Lot Executive Director Dave Sarlitto found out about what happened.

He fast-tracked the donation and delivery of 7,000 American flags to replace the ones that were destroyed.

“For Job Lot to come in and kind of save our memorial, it just means so much and it really does show just how much this means to the community,” Rothermel told WPRI.

Sarlitto may have saved the memorial, but in his mind, the real heroes are the organizations that support military families and veterans.

“Those are the ones that deserve the credit and any help that we can give them,” he explained to WPRI.

The memorial is organized by Operation Stand Down, which provides housing, employment, and support services to veterans. Rothermel said when Memorial Day rolls around, people will visit the memorial, talk and drink a beer, and pay tribute to fallen veterans.

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