BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Are you still looking for a Christmas present for someone who has defended our country or perhaps a first responder? A local veteran may have just what you’re looking for.
Tommy Donovan spends his leisure time in his backyard and shop making flags out of palettes, but it’s not an ordinary painting on a palette. The process involves a lot of work and it’s all done by hand.
"Burning all these boards like this brings out the pretty grain in them," said Donovan. "I put them over here and I paint them."
Once he's got his stripes for the flag painted, he moves inside his shop where the assembly begins.
"I take a lot of pride because I know someone who deserves one is getting one. All these veterans, firemen, policemen, first responders, I got a lot of respect for those people. They look out for us on a daily basis," said Donovan.
Donovan is a veteran himself. He enrolled in the Navy in 1969 and served during the Vietnam War until 1975. He served stateside as an aircraft mechanic for fighter planes and submarines. It’s why he truly appreciates the flag. “It means freedom and a lot of people paid the ultimate price for that freedom and to me, that is worth a bunch,” he said.
He takes orders for the flags and each is custom built, some for the branch of the military a veteran served in, others for police officers, firefighters, or any first responders.
"It just does my heart good," said Donovan.
He says his favorite part is watching someone receive a flag because the recipient knows the true meaning of it. However, that’s not something he gets to encounter often. Instead, Donovan spends his free time putting smiles on faces, one custom flag at a time. “I just love my country and what it stands for,” said Donovan.
The flags are sold at the Olinde’s Furniture on Airline Highway. Some are ready to be sold on the spot, while custom orders can also be placed on-site with Donovan.