An idea that originated in Greater Alton has migrated west.
Rodney and Gretchen Cook, of Godfrey, started Operation Let it Wave last year to provide free, hand-delivered American flags for honorably discharged veterans who don't already have one at their homes.
The Cooks' work on behalf of veterans was featured in a local publication of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the story later was picked up by the union's international newsletter. Rodney Cook, a member of the union, works at GKN Aerospace in St. Louis.
Tanya Kotschwar, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Post 74 in Moriarty, N.M., read the article and emailed Cook about starting her own project to provide flags for veterans in the East Mountains area, a region of about 10 communities.
Kotschwar was featured in a front-page article Wednesday in the Mountain View Telegraph, which reported she's already received three requests for flags.
Cook said he talked to Kotschwar for about 25 minutes after reading her email.
“She's really excited about it,” Cook said.
Cook said he has been getting more requests as word spreads about his organization.
“This is almost starting to become a full-time job because of the amount of vets we have in the area,” he said.
“It's just amazing to see the looks on their faces and the pride they still carry for the flag,” he said.
For more information, visit www.missionamericangratitude.com.