What follows took 9 months to accomplish due to Pakistan's significant import/export challenges. In January 2019 we were contacted by a devoted and patriotic Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.
The Foreign Service Officer appreciated our mission and "would love to hang one here, possibly dedicating it either our Marines – who serve here to keep us safe - or more broadly the men and women in uniform who serve at our Embassy." We were immediately committed and wanted to find a way to make this happen. She admitted there were some "logistical issues to resolve...in terms of getting it here, but we also... some clarification on the type of wood used and whether it is treated? Termites are an issue here and we cannot bring untreated wood into our new building."
Developing a New Product For Our Heroes Abroad
The logistical issues she mentioned were significant but the two most important challenges were solving how to ship to Pakistan as a dedicated UPS supporter and how to abide by the Pakistani import restrictions on foreign wood products & lumber. We hand make all of our wooden flag products from Un-treated US lumber. For those that aren't familiar, when we say treated we mean mean pressure treated lumber...the wood at the hardware store that feels wet to the touch and has a green hue.
After a lengthy consultation with our UPS reps we solved the shipping challenge, but how in the world can we create a product to our standards with ugly treated wood. It took multiple rounds of testing and our team of combat veteran craftsmen never flinched at the challenge. There was an overwhelming commitment to getting this right. Many of our veterans served in Afghanistan and knew first hand how important the work of the US Embassy in Pakistan was. Even more, Flags of Valor was founded by two special operations pilots who are all too familiar with the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region.
Finally, after three prototypes and constant tweaks to paint and finish techniques, we got it right. We turned green pressure treated wood into beautiful wooden American flags we were proud of. Some of us even thought we should transition all of our products to pressure treated lumber...not going to happen!
Once completed and received in Pakistan, we received these beautiful photos. We couldn't be more proud to have our nations colors, built by Flags of Valor's combat veterans, proudly displayed in the US Embassy in Islamabad. We are honored and grateful for the selfless service of every member of the US Embassy team. We know how difficult and important their duty is every day!
The display includes the following inscription from Team FOV:
"Like its team of combat veteran craftsmen, Flags Of Valor is all about SERVICE...Past, Present and Future. It was founded by two special operations pilots who are veterans of both Afghanistan and the Middle East. They understand acutely how critical your role is in representing our great nation. This flag was created by a team that loves America and deeply values the work you do every day by serving our nation abroad."