ALABASTER, Ala. (WRIC/WIAT) — After two decades of military service, Thomas Feltman has strong feelings about the United States flag.
“It’s not just a piece of cloth. It means everything to me,” said Feltman. “I’ve seen men die there in Korea and things… and I hate, I hate to see anybody mistreat the military from today.”
That’s why Sunday started as a slap in the face when the 84-year-old Alabaster resident looked out his window and saw his flag in tatters after being vandalized.
“The flag was hanging there just almost like a wet towel just hanging the top part was torn lose,” said Feltman.
So, he called the police. The responding officer, John St. Pierre was very upset.
“They were very cordial and I could tell they meant business,” said Feltman.
Officer St. Pierre met with the rest of the A-shift officers and the group was so moved that they all chipped in to purchase a new flag. Cpl. Milligan, Officer Harrelson, Officer Sharpe, Officer Josh White, Officer St. Pierre, Officer Mc Murray, Officer Summerall and Officer Hanns all showed up to personally present the flag to Mr. Feltman and to thank him for his service.
“I broke down,” Feltman said. “I couldn’t contain it. When they walked up with that flag and I had one hand over my mouth and one hand on the flag just softly rubbing it. It was still folded up. And I felt like I shouldn’t even touch it. And if I did, just barely touch it. Didn’t want, didn’t want to do any harm to it.”
Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney said it was the family of Thomas Feltman, not the officers involved, who brought their gift to his attention. That being said, Chief Rigney says he’s glad that he knows and he’s proud of his department.
“If they had not said something, his family, Mr. Feltman’s family had not said anything about it, we would have never known. They would have never said anything about it. And that’s just a tribute to what kind of guys they are,” said Rigney.
With a new flag flying proudly over Feltman’s yard, he said he’s grateful to the officers involved and he’s not losing any sleep over who damaged the other one.
“I hope they sleep well at night, but I don’t think they will,” said Feltman.