PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – After spending eight years in the Air Force, retiring as a Senior Airman, Steven Sanders says the sight of a tattered American flag is heartbreaking.
So, the disabled veteran decided to do something about it. Sanders is now crisscrossing the state replacing ripped and damaged flags. Some refer to him as the ‘flag hero.’
“It’s not an ‘I gotcha’ moment when I find one,” Sanders. “It’s a can I help moment.”
Sanders says his soon-to-be ex-wife and daughters live in Orange City in Volusia County, so he spends a lot of time on the road in between the east coast and the west coast.
He’s currently living out of his van staying in a VFW parking lot and hopes to move back into his Orange City home in the near future, but in the meantime, he’s content with his mission.
“I would say it’s a responsibility. I owe it to everyone that’s paid the ultimate sacrifice that has come home under one of these. I’m passionate about it, but it’s a responsibility,” Sanders adding. “I think passions can be set aside. Responsibilities can’t. “
Recently he replaced a flag in Lady Lake in Lake County.
“Come to find out the gentleman that lived there was very old and did not have the means to bring down the flag… So it worked out really well,” Sanders said.
Just the other day, he visited Ed Saulpaugh’s home in Dunedin.
“It blew my mind. Ok? I come outside and this guy is sitting there and says hey, I want to give you a new flag. I said what? He said I want to give you a new flag,” Saulpaugh said. “I said, who are you? “
Who Sanders is, is a retired warrior who is still fighting for Old Glory.
“I would really love to start from like, Key West and go all the way to Tallahassee,” Sanders said. “And put a flag in every city. “