WELLS COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – They’re unique wooden American flags and the Navy veteran who makes them hopes they can also remind people of a country united.
Matt Miller makes his masterpieces in his garage in Wells County.
“I’m no artist, but some people call me that,” he said. “It makes a man feel ten feet tall when you put something together with your hands and people spend their hard earned money on it.”
Matt wasn’t trying to start a business when he made his first flag almost four years ago.
“I got tired of buying gifts for my mom and dad,” he laughed. “I was like maybe I could build an American flag or something like that.”
And MizzleMade was born. They’re custom American flags with carefully thought-out burn details.
“I put the stars on last so no one can say I burned a flag. I’ve made purple lines for the Purple Heart and green lines for Marines Special Forces, for breast cancer awareness I’ve made a pink stripe,” Miller said.
Each flag is unique and made just for the person who ordered it. Miller’s favorites are his biggest flags. For a bar in South Carolina, he made a 20 foot by 11 foot flag that hangs behind the band stage. Two 16-foot flags hang at Mitchell’s in Fort Wayne – one inside and one outside. Miller’s shipped flags to 17 or 18 states.
“I don’t keep an inventory. I wait until somebody wants it and then I like putting it together and thinking about them when I do it,” he said.
Miller joined the Navy when he was 20 years old and served five years active duty. He got to travel the world, seeing 30 countries, and creating friendships that last a lifetime.
“I’m thankful I found the military,” he said. “You make bonds in the military you don’t in every day life. You need one another. You help each other and you’re responsible for saving one another in bad situations.”
Miller is a civilian wildlife biologist but still serves our country, deploying with the Air National Guard 122nd Fighter Wing out of Fort Wayne working for the BASH program – the Bird and Animal Strike Hazard team.
“We try to keep animals from getting hit by planes. We keep the pilot safe and keep equipment safe. And going around the world you deal with different wildlife so that’s cool,” Miller said.
His flags now spread his spirit of service. He hopes the people who see them think of the good in our country.
“Togetherness. That’s what I want them to think about. And I know I don’t like bringing it up, but 9/11 was an ugly time for this place but one thing it did was bring us all together. I remember streets lined with American flags and that is the U.S. that I represent. Comradery. Togetherness. Honor. Courage. Commitment.,” he said.
Miller is currently overseas on a deployment, but he will be filling flag orders when he gets back in the spring.