IOWA — It’s a day when many of us will make simple gestures. An outstretched hand…a simple thanks. One group of Iowans will go a bit further, and get a bit more in return.

“You can tell it comes over them pretty heavily,” says Blaine Garrett of the Veteran Flagpole Initiative, “and because of that it comes over us heavy.”

The volunteers of the Veteran Flagpole Initiative will be hard at work again, thanking eight more Iowa veterans for their service…with a service call of their own.

“So ours come with an Iowa flag and an American flag and they are lit,” Garrett says, “so they have a solar panel on top. It’s a proper flag, man. It’s not janky. It’s the real deal.”

It’s free of charge, but with no expense spared.

“It’s really important to get USA-made stuff for this,” says group treasurer, Jonny Wallreicht. “We didn’t want to get the cheapest stuff, we wanted really high-quality stuff and we wanted to do it locally if we could.”

They say local and mean it. Straight from Martin’s Flag and Décor in Valley Junction…to the veterans’ front yard. And when it’s finished, they’re often the ones saying the final “thanks.”

“Sometimes they’re emotional, and they’re just happy to share their story…and to know that there are people in this world who care about that stuff,” Wallreicht says.

It’s something we all know to be true—the best gifts are loved by receivers and givers alike.

“You feel like you’re in the right spot, doing the right thing at the right time for the right people,” says Garrett.

The Veteran Flagpole Initiative will be installing flagpoles at homes in Boone and Story counties this weekend. You can find out more about the group on their website. They’re always looking for volunteers, donations, and for the stories of more deserving veterans.