Lorenzo Liberti hopes to raise $50,000 to help hospitals that have been most impacted by the pandemic and homeless veterans.
A 15-year-old boy has taken up the responsibility of raising money for the unsung heroes amid the pandemic, including first responders and homeless veterans. When Lorenzo Liberti completed his first flag, people in his community expressed their desire to have their own and so he began selling what he calls "Heroic Flags" to raise funds for "forgotten heroes." In the due course of this project, which began in November, Liberti has created 60 flags and each of these wooden representations takes him about 15 to 20 hours to make. This means Liberti has already spent over 1,000 hours carving and painting these flags. Thankfully his efforts didn't go in vain as the teenager has already raised more than $16,000 in donations by selling and donating the wooden creations, reports CNN.
Liberti was inspired to make a difference when he chanced upon a homeless veteran in 2019 while he was serving meals at a food pantry alongside his church youth group. "He inspired me to be the change and make a difference," he said. The tenth grader from Lakewood Ranch, Florida, failed to understand why and how someone who has bravely served their country ended up having nothing. Thus, when his father urged him to be productive over the summer, the teen began "tinkering with wood." So, he began creating these flags with the aim of assisting the homeless veterans who end up alone on the streets.
Explaining the process of creating these wooden flags on his fundraising page, the teen writes, "Each flag is made up of 13 planks of premium pine wood. Each plank is hand-carved, torched, and stained by yours truly. Once dry, the pieces are assembled and glued together. All 50 stars are carved by me as well, using a wood carving tool. Lastly, a clear finish coat is applied and hardware is installed. Flags are numbered and signed by me. Each flag is unique and designed to honor the heroes in our society."
Florida teen carves U.S. flags to raise money for homeless vetshttps://t.co/pimCb20bxN— Maxine mangus (@MaxineMangus) August 9, 2020
This is the America I love!
When the coronavirus hit the nation, it rocked the foundation of healthcare systems that was crumbling to meet the growing demand for beds and ventilators. But this did not dissuade first responders from performing their duties and risking their lives on the frontline of the pandemic. So he decided to include them in his mission after witnessing "the dedication (first responders) have to the communities." Liberti's mother is a healthcare worker with the Sarasota Memorial Hospital network and this helped him understand their role better.
15-year-old boy is carving wooden flags to support ‘forgotten heroes,’ like veterans and first responders, during the pandemichttps://t.co/jUvB2DzOQ3— WREG News Channel 3 (@3onyourside) August 13, 2020
"We went to war against the virus. Our new soldiers are wearing scrubs instead of camouflage," said the teen, adding, "I thought it would be fitting to honor our new heroes with my flags." With this newly found direction for his initiative, Heroic Flags gained a lot of media attention and the website quickly sold out all the flags in 45 minutes after being aired on Fox and Friends. "I have a long waiting list of people still wanting flags," noted Liberti who wished to raise $50,000 for healthcare institutions in every state which have been impacted the most by COVID-19.
A GoFundMe account has been created for the purpose and it has raised over $16,000 so far. The teen plans on donating the "net proceeds to support our forgotten heroes (homeless vets), as their needs have not diminished during the pandemic." Furthermore, he stated, "I plan to support the Yellow Ribbon program at Turning Points in Bradenton, FL." According to CNN, Liberti's ultimate goal is to get his flags in every household in the country, including the White House.