EAST MOLINE, Illinois- It's not exactly easy making hundreds of ten foot tall flags, but inside an old building downtown, Mike Tyler makes them all.
Tyler served in the United States Marine Corps and fought in the Vietnam War from 1963 to 1964.
"It's an experience that I wouldn't like to have again," Tyler said. "But I'm not sorry that I had it. It's not pleasant at times, but other than that, it's part of the deal."
Tyler says his service in the Marines is part of the reason why he hands out the flags today. That's had a huge impact on Breakfast Optimist Club member Mike Wendt, who surprised Tyler with a Pay It Forward Award, before he came to their office on Monday, September 18. The awards, sponsored by Ascentra Credit Union, are given to people who do good things in the community.
The optimist club puts a flag in every person's yard on Memorial, Flag, Independence, Labor, and Veteran's Day for just $45 a year. Their proceeds go to Boy Scout Troop 383 in East Moline.
The project is also a way for Tyler to connect with his father, who he served with in Okinawa, during the Vietnam War.
"My father was in the service for 30 years," Tyler said. "I was in it for seven, and it's just something that I've respected from day one, and I think it's a neat thing to display, and I just like it."
If you know of someone doing great things in the community, consider nominating them for the Pay It Forward Program by clicking here.