A U.S. Air Force veteran in Denver, Colorado has found a unique way to make a living based on his love for his country. Josh Vandenbrink, who has deployed 21 times, now makes handmade American flags out of steel.
His company, One Nation Designs (formerly Salt Lake City, Utah-based Iron Mountain Designs), was founded after Vandenbrink retired following 14 years in Special Operations. During his time in the service he spent time in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa as a Pararescueman. Per a Feb. 2020 Reddit AMA, the military veteran also served a stint in the CIA. A longtime love of working with his hands led the veteran to eventually explore starting his own workshop.
The idea to make flags hit him one day when a few of his fellow veterans made fun of a plastic flag he had. So, he responded by making a 70-pound flag out of steel as an alternative. What he didn't know is that the product would soon be in high demand.
Orders began pouring in for the patriotic pieces, which have been ordered by at least one prominent celebrity: the metal flag in Joe Rogan's podcast studio was made by Vandenbrink's company.
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The legend! @miketyson was larger then life when I was a kid. I remember his fight against Spinks in like 1988 that lasted like a minute and a half. Everyone felt ripped off because it was so short and I was confused because I thought that was the goal. Haha Anyway, cool to see a flag I made next to this classic American badass. Thanks to @joerogan for sure.
According to Fox News, Vandenbrink also puts the following George Washington quote on the back of each flag: "I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."
It's clear that Vandenbrink incorporates his love for America in everything he does. One thing he doesn't do, however, is make flag tables. Why? Because it's disrespectful, according to him. "You don't eat on the flag," he says. "You don't stack anything on the flag."
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The veteran hopes that his product will help spread patriotism. He wants all citizens to love the American flag, rather than use it for a political statement.
For more about One Nation Designs, visit its LinkedIn company page.
This story originally ran on Mar 30, 2017 and was republished on September 9, 2020.