Goodwill Flag Center employees gain their own independence

- A South Florida Goodwill works hard to make sure Old Glory looks glorious this Fourth of July.

About 900 employees – 96 percent of whom have disabilities - put special attention to every star and stripe. Crafting the symbol of our country’s independence helps them build skills to help them gain independence of their own.

Goodwill's Flag Center in Alapattah creates about 600 flags a day for the US Department of Veterans Affairs and commercial use.

Every Old Glory star, stripe, and Canton is made with hundred-year-old embroidery machines and good willed workers.

“Goodwill's mission is to train employees, people with disabilities, and so it's interesting that we make this country's symbol of independence when people who seek Goodwill and seek their services are, in their own way, seeking their own independence,” explained Lourdes de la Mata-Little, Goodwill’s VP of Marketing Development.

No loose threads or pulls - every flag is made to perfection and inspected thoroughly before shipping out. Starting with four-and-a-half inch stars and ending with a nine-foot-long symbol of freedom.

“They have to be perfect because we’re talking about the American Flag. It's important, it's for soldiers, and it's a flag that we respect,” said Goodwill flag maker Iris Perez. “No matter where I see the flag, I say, ‘Did I make that flag? Did I put my hands on it?’”

Flag makers say they are proud of their craft, especially on America’s birthday.

“On the Fourth of July, where we celebrate this country's independence, they are particularly proud. That even though it's a small part behind the scenes, they were part of making that story come alive,” de la Mata-Little said.

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