Army Veteran, Unifi Producing American Flags from Recycled Water Bottles
28. September 2016
The veteran’s company creates flags using Repreve recycled fiber made from 10 recycled water bottles.
There’s a lot of controversy right now regarding the National Anthem, the American flag and what it means to be patriotic. While it appears that debate is not going to end any time soon, perhaps everyone should pause and learn about a pretty cool initiative started by Sam Russo, a veteran of two combat tours in Afghanistan.
He’s working with Unifi’s Repreve brand to manufacture American flags that are entirely produced in the eastern U.S. So where’s the plastics angle? It turns out that Russo's company, RePatriot Flag, creates flags using Repreve recycled fiber made from 10 recycled water bottles. To date, RePatriot Flag has eliminated nearly 30,000 plastic bottles from our landfills.
"While I was in Afghanistan, I flew every mission with a flag from my grandfather, which was originally given to him when he returned home from World War II," says Russo, the founder and managing director of RePatriot Flag. "After launching RePatriot Flag in 2013, I wanted service members to have a similar emotional connection, so I began sending my flags to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The fact that my flags are eco-friendly, thanks to Repreve, and made in America are added bonuses that fit seamlessly into my mission of protecting and honoring our country."
The veteran-founded company also donates a portion of its proceeds to support veteran organizations such as Operation Enduring Warrior and Team Red, White and Blue. Both organizations enrich the lives of America's veterans by bringing them and their communities closer together through positive physical and social outlets, which often help veterans cope with the stress and hardships of war. RePatriot Flag donates one flag to every Team Red, White and Blue chapter nationwide, and offers discounts to both organizations. All veterans and first responders coast-to-coast are also eligible for discounts on purchases from RePatriot Flag.
"We are proud to be working with such an amazing organization that supports U.S. veterans and does so much to honor our country, while offering high-quality products that are American-made and environmentally conscious," says Jay Hertwig, vice president of global brand sales, marketing and product development for Unifi.
Russo graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and in 2006, was commissioned as an Army Aviation Officer. He completed two combat tours to Afghanistan with the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade.
"To me, the concept of recycled plastic bottles transforming into the RePatriot Flag makes our product the most patriotic American flag you can fly," says Russo. "They are environmentally friendly, veteran-founded and focused, and 100 percent made in the United States."
Photo caption: Sam Russo, founder of RePatriot Flag (far right), holding a RePatriot flag made from 10 recycled plastic bottles.