SC, UNITED STATES
Story by Staff Sgt. Erica Knight
U.S. Army Capt. Bryan Suhr, a future operations-logistics planner for Joint Forces Headquarters, South Carolina Army National Guard, wanted to give back to the country that provided a wealth of opportunities for his parents when they immigrated from Korea.
Over the past 12 years he has done that as a military officer, civilian contractor and a business owner.
Suhr received his commission as a second lieutenant in the South Carolina Army National Guard on Aug. 18, 2006, from the Palmetto Military Academy. Since then he has served with the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Kosovo for a year in support of Operation Joint Guardian, and with the the 2-263rd Air Defense Artillery Battalion in Washington, D.C. for two years in support of Operation Noble Eagle.
Now, as a civilian contractor for the Air Force in the National Capital Region, Suhr supports the air defense mission as a configuration management specialist. In this position he is responsible for facilitating change management and life-cycle management of Air Force mission systems, their sub-systems and components, as well as general information technology equipment.
Still, Suhr knew he had more to give. In May 2017 he began painting U.S. flags on re-purposed warehouse pallets.
“I use my flag-making as my way to express my gratitude for those who served and are currently serving,” Suhr said. “These flags also give families and friends a unique way of doing the same for their loved ones.”
The first few flags were donated flags to families of South Carolina Army National Guard service members who lost their lives, and a retired non-commissioned officer.
With some experience under his belt, Suhr continued to learn and develop his craft. Just seven months later, he made his first sale. Early in 2018, he painted and sold his first custom flags. What began as a need for a hobby was now turning into a business.
“I currently have 18-20 confirmed orders that go as far as January 2019, and I’m averaging between two and four new orders a week,” he said.
As Suhr has expanded his business, he met many service members and veterans who are utilizing their talents in new and creative ways. The more he spoke with people, the more he realized the need for them to have a voice. Suhr started the The Patriot Moose blog, where he features interviews with veterans who are engaged in a craft. The response has been positive and he has considered starting a podcast, featuring veteran-craftsmen as guests.
“Our nation is forever affected by the Global War on Terrorism. With that war, veterans today are defined by things like TBI, PTSD and suicide,” Suhr said. “While those are undoubtedly factors that are part of today’s veteran, it is my sincere wish that we don’t ascribe such a narrow-minded label. I want the American public to know that the veteran who stands beside, behind, or in front of us has skill sets that transcend the rifle they carried, the vehicle they drove, and the uniform they wore.”