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NYPD officer, grandson of a WWII Veteran, creates and sells custom wooden flags

His grandfather’s bravery sparked a strong sense of patriotism in Officer Anthony Guglielmo who creates custom wooden American and other patriotic flags

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By Tracey Porpora
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — NYPD Officer Anthony Guglielmo, 35, has fond memories of the World War II stories his namesake and grandfather, who served in the U.S. Navy, would tell him as a youngster.

One story, in particular, sticks out in his memory — his grandfather plummeted from the crow’s nest of a U.S. Navy ship.

“He was in Iceland, and he was climbing up to the crow’s nest of the ship, and he had leather gloves on. He fell off the top of the crow’s nest through the deck and he broke his leg. He was actually one of the first people they tried penicillin on,” recalled Guglielmo.

“My grandfather got a purple heart in World War II; he actually almost died. And my grandfather always hung the American flag outside of his window,” he added.

His grandfather’s bravery is what sparked a strong sense of patriotism in Guglielmo. It led to his desire to be an NYPD officer. And his passion to spread patriotism has helped him turn a hobby of creating custom wooden American and other patriotic flags into a side business. That’s why he — along with his wife, Tara Guglielmo — launched a custom wooden flag creation business called A.L.T. Flags, named after their children: Anthony, Luke and Tyler.

“Patriotism is what America stands for; it is not only something learned, but something felt,” said Guglielmo.

“It’s felt when you stand for the Star Spangled Banner at a sporting event, and when you drive by and see a flag waving in the air. It’s a sense of freedom and unity; it is knowing that men and women have fought for our country and never made it back to the land of the free, which they were defending. Patriotism means loving this beautiful place, and leaving it even more beautiful for future generations,” he added.

Guglielmo’s idea to create wooden flags was sparked a few years ago when his father purchased one from a Veteran-owned company.

“I thought it was the coolest thing. I always wanted to get into [creating wooden flags]. With my job and having children it was always hard for me to do it. But then during the COVID pandemic, I created my first flag and I absolutely loved it,” said the Rossville resident, noting he was self-taught on the woodworking process.

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PRODUCTS OFFERED

A.L.T. Flags offers a variety of wooden flags, with many different options — from personal names and various shields, to challenge coin shelves and even lighting. Guglielmo also designs crosses with patriotic designs.

“What started off as a home project, quickly turned into a fun, patriotic way of life,” Guglielmo said. “It became a way to reach out to our young sons about American values, through creating flags. We continually strive to come up with new creations and create flags as far as our imagination will take us. We felt as though the country was losing some of its good old fashion patriotism. Through each one of our flags, we strive to bring that feeling back to our community, and hopefully, eventually across America.”

As for the products, he can customize any design and has created unique products — such as a wooden flag with half the American flag and the other half the flag of Puerto Rico — upon request.

“We are geared to the variety of American flags that have been seen throughout history. But we also pay dedication to first responders, military, nurses and blue-collar people in general. My clients tend to be people with similar interests and people who are looking for a statement piece for their own house or as a gift,” he said.

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‘WOOD THERAPY’

And while the process to create one flag is time-consuming — at least one day per flag — Guglielmo said he possesses such a passion for creating them that it never feels like work to him.

“It’s time-consuming, but it’s not work for me. It’s just a lot of fun. It’s relaxing. It’s like wood therapy,” he said.

And as a first responder himself, he and his wife created a program called “Flags for Families of First Responders” where they gift a flag to the family of a first responder whose child is suffering from a life-threatening illness.

“We have donated numerous flags to families with the hope of giving them a small sense of comfort when they look at the flag on their wall. We want them to know we are thinking about them and praying for their family in these trying times,” he said.

In addition, he donates flags to others, such as a family from Midland Beach, whose American flag was recently torched outside their home.

“My favorite part of the job, aside from the process of sitting and actually physically creating each piece, is the gift of knowing that I have created an American piece of art that someone will allow to be hung in their home,” he said.

While in the process of creating a website, Guglielmo says his custom-made flags are sold exclusively on the company’s Instagram page.

(c)2023 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.
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