Navy veteran David Pinder was replacing an old flag in front of his office when he noticed a problem he’s seen many times before, and one he could help with.
“It’s something that I think a lot of people notice, especially if you served or are just passionate about the flag,” Pinder told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The North Wilmington, Delaware, resident is frequently on the road for his job. He oversees teams of technicians who repair and maintain Comcast’s network of lines running from telephone poles to homes across the U.S. There are American flags in front of many of those homes, a few of them showing the signs of wear.
“I thought, ‘Man, it would be really nice if we could do this for everybody,’” he said.
So, Pinder convinced his employer to let him do just that. He submitted his idea through Comcast NBCUniversal’s Veterans Network, which helps veterans put their military training to use as Comcast employees.
“Within two days, I had 75 flags sitting in my office, and it was kind of time to put up or shut up,” Pinder said.
And so, the Vet Net Flag Replacement Program was launched.
Comcast now purchases the flags and Pinder is responsible for distributing them. When he sees a flag that’s looking a little worse for the wear, he knocks on the homeowner’s door and offers to replace it for free. It doesn’t matter if they are a Comcast customer or not.
Pinder and his team have replaced 400 flags so far. One of the first went to New Castle resident Janet Stutzman. She recalls being surprised when flag ambassador and Comcast network maintenance technician Jeff Tontarski knocked on the door.
“I was a little apprehensive, wondering where this was going,” Stutzman told the Inquirer. “He started explaining his program and said he would like to replace my flag — if it would be OK. He said he had a flag in his truck, and I didn’t have to be a Comcast customer.”
Unbeknownst to Tontarski, Stutzman’s late husband Charles served in the Navy. “I said, ‘That would be nice. This is a nice thing you are doing.'”
Recently, the flag — now worn — was replaced. This time, Pinder did the honor.
“It’s so heartwarming that people would do something like this,” she said.
Comcast is happy about the program, too.
“We’ve had tremendous feedback” from the public, said Dale Elifrits, Comcast vice president of plants and construction, and executive sponsor of Comcast’s Veterans Network. “It’s pretty neat to be a part of.”
Learn more in the video below.Whizzco