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Handmade American flag at Northern Arizona Heathcare’s Flagstaff Medical Center both a gift and a symbol of flying strong

When you see the new, wooden American flag hanging at Northern Arizona Healthcare’s Flagstaff Medical Center, know that a very special teenager created it with love, just for us. 

Lorenzo Liberti, a 16-year-old high school sophomore in Bradenton, Fla., began his Heroic Flags project as a way to raise funds to honor and help homeless veterans. As the COVID-19 pandemic heated up, he started to make the flags to do the same for frontline healthcare workers. He plans to make a flag for one hospital in each of the 50 states. FMC is honored to be that hospital in the state of Arizona. 

“We wanted to pick a hospital which was relatively big; that way, more patients can see this is where we fought against and overcame this virus, one patient at a time,” Lorenzo said at the presentation of the flag on Wednesday, Feb. 17, for our President and CEO Flo Spyrow, who was flanked on both sides by nurses from across the organization. Lorenzo zoomed in from Florida to watch the unveiling and so Flo could thank him personally. 

“You are the first to do a flag unveiling, which is honestly such a big blessing,” he continued. “Seeing the impact that it makes and being able to match a face to the stories, is life changing. Behind each mask is a person, and behind each person is a story – and the fact that we can come together and overcome this virus, is remarkable.  

Let all the sacrifices not be forgotten.” 

Flo, who was flanked on both sides from nurses from around the organization, dedicated the flag to all of our healthcare heroes – in particular, our nurses – who have fought the battle against COVID-19 over the last year. 

“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” she said. “I love the ruggedness of the flag because it so symbolizes the challenges and, quite frankly, scars many of us are left with after this past year – and how we still fly strong.” 

Lorenzo replied that this was his artistic intent. “That’s why we created them that way,” he said.  “Bruised but not broken; down but not out.” 

Thanks to Lorenzo for giving us this beautiful reminder of our mission and vision during these difficult times. FMC will treasure it always.