Upholsterer keeps American flag in top condition

Upholsterer keeps American flag in top condition

LAWTON, Okla._Thousands of people see the 1,800-square-foot American flag flying at Buffalo Soldier Plaza every day on Northwest 2nd Street and Gore Boulevard in downtown Lawton.

Most of us see it as a sign of patriotism without ever thinking about what a huge chore it is to take it care of it. The flag flies on a 100-foot tall pole, and the Oklahoma winds take a toll their toll, along with the dust, the rain and the heat.

Keeping the flag in good shape is a huge job, and is one that requires constant attention. There are three flags for the plaza, so one can always be flying when another is taken in for repairs, and that happens about once every three weeks.

Now, when you think about the really big flags like that one, they are often outside of car dealerships, like Dan Mullins Nissan. So, it makes sense that they would turn to someone who upholsters vehicles for the repair job, and that's where Robert Floyd comes in.

"You have done it for so many years, it makes it a little easier," Said Robert Floyd, upholsterer and flag repairer.

For the last 25 years, Floyd has been repairing American flags at his automotive upholstery shop in Lawton.

"We haven't even raised our price when doing them because I feel like it's part of my patriotic duty repairing flags and letting people get them back flying again," Floyd said.

Floyd repairs about one flag per month.

"We take very much care and never let them touch the ground. Keep them on the table, trim them up and get them back to the customer," Floyd explained.

The flag he was working on belongs to Buffalo Soldier Plaza, which is one of the largest flags Floyd repairs. The flag is 30 feet by 60 feet.

Plaza organizer Dan Mullins says he is thankful to have a local repair shop when he needs it.

"Love to see it waving in the breeze in Southwest Oklahoma. It is such a magnificent site no matter where the flag flies and that is who we are," Mullins said.

Floyd says he will make four passes on the edge of this flag, which takes him about an hour to complete.

"The massive size of it, trying to work with it and get it spread out where you can get it straightened up," Floyd said.

He uses thread that is made of nylon that is lightly waxed to keep its strength, so that the flag will be able to fly high in the air once again.

Floyd says he also repairs small American flags people put up on the outside their homes.

The Buffalo Soldier Plaza non-profit foundation puts $30,000 aside each year to repair and purchase new flags.