An American flag flies from a pole in front of his home. From the garage you can hear the hum of saws and woodworking equipment. Inside that garage David Wagner is honoring the flag and veterans.
Crafted from oak, ash, hickory and glass, Wagner builds flag cases that he gives to the families of deceased veterans. He works with the director of a funeral home in Janesville to identify the families of veterans.
While Wagner does his work quietly and in the background, he does send a message to each family along with the flag case.
"I always put a little note in there. It just says, 'Out of respect for the veterans that have served our country.' And that's why I've done it," Wagner said.
He pays for all of the wood, supplies and equipment used to make the flag cases out of his own pocket. What he does receive are many, many thank-you notes, cards and letters from families that have received the flag cases.
"Some have said that their husbands enjoyed doing woodworking, and so it meant something a little bit more," Wagner said.
The 78-year-old is a veteran who served in an artillery unit with the U.S. Army.
"When I compare what I did with what some of the other veterans have done, a couple of years ago we had the chance to go to France and we stood on the beaches of Normandy and looked out over the English Channel. and you saw the pictures of what had happened there," Wagner said. "You really respect and often wonder if I could have done that. I don’t know if I could have done that."
What Wagner does do is honor Wisconsin veterans and their families by remembering their service and sacrifice.