The sign says, “Please return my flag, sentimental to me. I brought it back from Iraq. The bottom four stripes have my buddy’s blood on them.”
“This was very important to him,” said Kim Phillips, who lives in Tacoma, Washington. She said veteran Nolan Gomez, also of Tacoma, was doing some yard work when someone stole his American flag.
The flag usually flies on the back of Gomez's truck, but he took it down while using the truck to do some work and stood the flag up in a cone.
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“He went to get gas or whatever, came back, it was gone,” Phillips said.
Only after it went missing did she learn its significance.
“That came back from the war with him and it was very important to him and that was his buddy’s blood on the bottom,” Phillips said, tearing up.
She said her family is also military, and her brother served in the front lines during the Vietnam War.
She decided she had to help make the sign in hopes whoever took it would see it.
Her neighbor took a photo of that sign and posted it in a Pierce County community page, where it’s been shared hundreds of times.
“It’s crazy, everybody is mad,” said friend Jill Thurman.
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Since the post, multiple families have stepped up, offering their families’ American flags to the veteran.
“Yesterday, four boys came over, they folded it up and said this is our uncle’s flag, and we want to give it to you to replace the one you lost,” Phillips said.
They say it’s something incredible that came out of something heartbreaking, but they’re still hoping to help that veteran get his flag back.
“That’s defending us, all of us, our freedom. And he was injured in the war. So it’s another reason to get it back to him. If anyone knows where to look,” Phillips said.