Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man honoring veterans and first responders is asking for photos of your loved ones who also served.
Ed Flegal, 78, served from 1960-1968 during the Vietnam war as a sergeant.
Seven years ago, Flegal wanted to show his community that freedom isn't necessarily free. On Veterans Day, Flegal went to the bridge at the top of 4500 South over I-15 southbound and stood with a singular flag.
Flegal never realized the impact this one gesture would make on his community. He started doing this because of his older brother, Steve.
Flegal recalled, "My older sister said, 'Ed, this is great, but you are doing this for the one person who isn't here, Steve.'"
"(Steve) was on the frontline in Vietnam. I got to thinking, Steve isn't the only veteran, there are scads of them in Utah," Flegal said. "I had a scathingly brilliant idea … I asked (my insurance agent) if they would sponsor me, and he said 'by all means, yes'," Flegal recalled.
Tim Taylor, Flegal's insurance agent, is a fellow military man himself and he wanted to help him honor Utah veterans.
"We hit it off … I was raised military and just fell in love with him. What he is doing, what he stands for, is truly amazing," Taylor said.
Taylor supplies and replaces flags for Flegal without question.
"(Ed) is a wonderful man. He doesn't ask for anything from anyone, he does this all himself and now we buy the flags for him because that is what he needs," Taylor said.
On military holidays, like Veterans Day, Flegal arrives at the bridge early to set up his flags; then, he hands out little U.S. flags to anyone who wants one. As he stands there, he salutes.
"The people of my neighborhood, my ward, and those in Holladay have been very supportive," Flegal said. However, Flegal wants every veteran and first responder in Utah to know they are welcome.
If you would like to salute with or to Flegal, he can be seen on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and the 4th of July.
Flegal would like you to send a laminated photograph, preferably 8 X 11 inches of a lost loved one who served to 4685 S. Highland Dr., Suite 102 Holladay, UT 84117 so he can display it.
"It would be nice to honor our community," Flegal said.