Student vets group raising funds for full court flag to display at sporting events

Photo provided by BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT

BG Independent News

The Student Veterans Organization wants to help Bowling Green State University up its game when it comes to patriotic displays.

The organization is raising $10,000 to buy a full court flag that could be used at athletic events both on campus and off. The SVO has launched an online crowd-funding campaign through Falcon Funded.  Click here.

“It’s the least we can do so we can show our support for the opportunities this country has for everyone,” said Brady Clayton, a Marine veteran who is majoring in construction management. “To have this giant flag at Bowling Green is awesome.”

Eric Buetikofer, a military and veteran advisor who coordinates on-field military recognitions, said the initiative got started last year when the athletics department approached him about finding a full field flag to display at a football game. 

A full field flag covers the length and width of a football field. A little research showed only the Cleveland Browns had that large a flag. To rent one would cost $6,500 — it comes in its own truck and crew. A full-field flag costs $45,000 to buy.

That was too much, Buetikofer said, but a less costly and more practical option was the 50-foot-by-90-foot full court flag. That flag covers a basketball court. That would cost $10,000.

Eric Buetikofer brought it to the SVO as a project. The organization took it on.

A flag that size can be used for pre-game displays for a full range of sports including hockey, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, and soccer. When displayed on the football field, it allows for space for the band.

The SVO will be the owners of the flag, responsible for its use, handling and maintenance.

While it will largely be used at BGSU, the flag will also be available for high schools and other colleges. “It’s a flag not just for BGSU but the community at large,” Buetikofer said.

“It adds to the sense of responsibility,” Clayton said. This also gives the veterans group an opportunity to work with the community.

It takes 30-50 people to hold the flag when it is displayed. The flag has straps attached to the underside of the flag.

The student veterans would have the responsibility to find volunteers to help.

Buetikofer said he hopes it also helps bring more attention to he military-affiliated community on campus. There are 650 military-affiliated students who are either active duty, National Guard, veterans, or dependents 

For Bryan Bills,  sophomore studying aviation, the flag project has special meaning.

He served in the Army for six years and is still in the National Guard. He’s had two deployments to Afghanistan. On his second deployment, someone sent him a BGSU flag that he proudly flew.

Now at BGSU, there will be a new American flag to fly to recognize his and his peers’ service.

“It’s good to have,” he said. “If it’s not important to anybody else, it’s important to us.”

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