Flags of Valor chief of staff Mike Taylor, owner Brian Steorts, and GPR Inc. founders Vito John Germinario and Khalil G. Rouhana (left to right) pose with handcrafted American flags at the Make-a-Wish Mid-Atlantic thank-you lunch April 4.
When retired special operations pilot Brian Steorts started Flags of Valor (FOV) and opened a production facility in Ashburn, Virginia, he had two goals in mind: make American flags using only American products and give jobs to veterans like himself.
FOV, profiled by the Tribune last year, specializes in creating handcrafted American flags on wood plank canvases. The start-up has also become known for donating flags to families of fallen law enforcement officers, as well as to firehouses and law enforcement causes throughout Loudoun County.
What is increasingly distinguishing the all-veteran company is its support of area charities.
Most recently, FOV participated in a Make-a-Wish Mid-Atlantic thank-you lunch at Fratelli’s Restaurant in Sterling where three flags were donated for auction at the charity’s annual gala May 20. The money raised at that auction will go directly toward granting the wishes of area children with life-threatening medical conditions. GPR Inc. president Vito John Germinario and partner Khalil G. Rouhana hosted the lunch to thank staff of the charity, and purchased the flags to include in the auction.
“Children are the future, and if we can give a child a little more sunshine, shame on us if we don’t try to do that,” said Germinario, who also serves on the board of Make-a-Wish Mid-Atlantic. Some of the wishes like going to Disney World may sound simple to grant, but there are a lot of little things that go into getting a sick child and their family to Florida, he said.
Germinario speaks from experience. He had aspirations of being a pediatrician before starting a career in the construction industry and his commitment to children has been a lifelong calling. He sits on seven non-profit boards, six of which are devoted to helping children, and is known for his personal involvement in projects to brighten the lives of children with life-threatening conditions.
For Steorts part, helping local charities is a natural fit for FOV and its employees.
“Most guys get that camaraderie, that brotherhood you’re missing, so it’s therapeutic to work together,” he said. “And as much support we get here, we want to give back.”
In the past year, FOV has donated over 100 flags for auction at area events, resulting in $150,000 being raised for charity, Steorts said. Live auctions of FOV flags raised $10,000 last year for Luke’s Wings, a Washington-based organization helping wounded warriors and veterans. The company also helped secure $23,000 for the PenFed Foundation’s Night of Heroes Gala, and $12,000 for Children’s National.
FOV also donates ten percent of its sales to other charities, including the Officer Down Memorial.