Marine Corp. veteran donates 300th flag

Published 5:59 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Jamie Popwell, the founder of Flags For Vets, celebrated a milestone on Sunday as he gifted his 300th flag to a Marion WWII Veteran Thomas “Floyd” Bamberg Sr.

Bamberg served in the U.S. Army in WWII.

Email newsletter signup

Bamberg entered the war in September 1946 and was discharged in January 1948. He was assigned as a radio operator with the 8th Calvary/1st Infantry Division.

Bamberg was stationed in the Philippines to help find and notify Japanese troops hidden in the caves and mountains that the war was over. He was later sent to Japan as a member of the occupation force.

Popwell also served in the U.S. Marine Corps from September 1982 to September 1985 on active duty and served three more years on inactive duty.

“I was Honorably discharged in April 1988,” Popwell said. “I am, like my brothers, fiercely patriotic and my love for my country is second only to God and my family.”

Popwell’s service providing American flags to veterans is only a few years old.

“On Feb. 1, 2017, I developed an idea to pay it forward to our veterans in recognition for their service and sacrifice to our nation,” said Popwell. “I felt that with all of the media coverage surrounding the ‘right’ to burn our flag, or step on our flag there was a need to counter that with a show of respect for those that fought for that very freedom.”

As a result, Flags for Vets was formed. The concept is simple, according to Popwell, which is to supply a flagpole and a flag for a veteran free to them and covered by donations and sponsorships by those wishing to do so.

“I travel to their residence, meet with them in person, determine where they want to place their flagpole and get to know them, their history of service and anything else they may want people to know about them,” said Popwell. “I’ll install the flagpole and flag and once the installation is complete, I commemorate the experience with pictures before sharing their story on social media.”

Bamberg’s daughter, Margaret Sellars, spoke about the service that Popwell provides.

“Yesterday (Sunday) my daddy was the recipient and the look on his face showed his love for the flag and our country and his appreciation for this gesture for him,” she said. “Most of us could not help but get teary seeing this beautiful flag flying high on such a beautiful day. The first thing we did, young and old, was to say The Pledge of Allegiance.”

“It was a memorable afternoon of food and fellowship as the moment was shared by nearly 20 family members including children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” said Popwell.

For more information about the service, visit