Thomas Feltman 84 of Alabaster, Al. is a very proud veteran of the United States Air Force who served 21 years and was in Korea. During Halloween vandals took the American Flag he has proudly flown outside his home and desecrated it. It disturbed Feltman greatly as he stated “It’s not just a piece of cloth. It means everything to me,” he described the condition of the flag he cherished “It was in quite a bit of disarray,” Feltman said. “It was hanging like it was a damp cloth.”.
He decided to report the vandalism to the local Police in Alabaster believing there was little that would be done. The events that occurred shortly after brought him to tears.
Officer John St. Pierre came to take the report of vandalism and understood the meaning behind the flag had to Feltman. Feltman told news sources “I’ve seen, I’ve seen uh.. I’ve seen men die there in Korea and things…. (pause)…. and I hate, I hate to see anybody mistreat the military from today.”
The Officer remained cordial and very professional during his initial interview and then after taking his report he left. But his actions didn’t end there. He went back to his station and told other Officers who were working the story of the flag and how it had impacted the 84 year old veteran. They decided to honor Feltman and replace the flag themselves.
They took up a collection immediately, went out and bought a new flag for the gentleman and then 12 Officers in 7 Police Cruisers proceeded to Feltmans home in an impromptu presentation of the flag for an unofficial raising. They thanked him for his long and dedicated service to our Nation.
When Officers presented Feltman with the flag he was taken aback stating “I broke down. That’s what, I broke, I broke down. I couldn’t contain it. When they walked up with that flag and I had one hand over my mouth and one hand on the flag just softly rubbing it. It was still folded up. And I felt like I shouldn’t even touch it. And if I did, just barely touch it. Didn’t want, didn’t want to do any harm to it.”
The officers never told anyone about what they had done, but their Chief of Police Curtis Rigney was made aware of the act when he received an e-mail from Feltmans granddaughter who was very thankful for what the Officers had done. Rigney said “I was taken aback, but I wasn’t surprised,” Rigney said. “That’s the kind of things the men and women here do. I was proud to be an employee of the Alabaster Police Department.”
Rigney was also quoted as saying “If they had not said something, his family, Mr. Feltman’s family had not said anything about it, we would have never known. They would have never said anything about it. And that’s just a tribute to what kind of guys they are,”
Some of the officers involved were Cpl. Milligan, Officer Harrelson, Officer Sharpe, Officer Josh White, Officer St. Pierre, Officer Mc Murray, Officer Summerall, and Officer Hanns.
Photos of the officers thanking Feltman for his service and the raising of the flag were posted toRachel Ross Blackwood’s Facebook page
Photo’s credit: Rachel Ross Blackwood
News sources for this were compiled from: