No Flag Pole Left Behind – The Heroic Story of Charles Foley
October 13, 2021 • By Flags For The Flagless
The American flag waves in reverence for many—for the immigrants who came and built a nation with hard work and ingenuity and for all who continue to defend and serve our nation.
As a Tucson Police officer, Charles Foley noticed 32 poles without a flag in one small downtown area. Now, he has made it his primary mission to assure that our nations national colors are available to every site that carries an empty flag pole.
In 2015, Charles Foley co-founded “Flags for the Flagless” along with fellow police officer and 20 year army Veteran Bradley Clark. So far, they have raised hundreds of donated flags at locations all across the USA.
Foley’s first day on patrol as a police officer was September 11, 2001. He comes from a long line of Veterans and was inspired during a conversation with a retired NFL player who shared his commitment to volunteerism supporting The Greatest Generation Foundation. Following that encounter, Foley wondered what more he could do for his community beyond serving as a police officer – all the buildings he saw on his patrols that were missing flags solidified the idea.
The first building to receive a flag had not flown one for years because the stairway leading to the flagpole on the roof had decayed. After hearing from Foley, the building owner built a new stairway so that they could raise a donated flag on Flag Day 2015. Another building had not flown the colors in over 75 years.
Flags are donated by various organizations and individuals, including family members of Veterans who donate their internment flags. In addition to over hundreds of flags raised locally, Flags for the Flagless has also donated flags to schools damaged by hurricane Katrina and to New York area schools on the anniversary of 9/11. The organization presented a flag to the congregation of the South Carolina Emmanuel AME church as an expression of support from the citizens of Tucson.
Charles Foley, alongside the “Flags for the Flagless”, a 501(c)(3) organization, seeks out businesses, organizations, homes and schools to provide American Flags for classrooms and un-used flag poles. They also take on an educational role, providing historical facts, images and American Flag protocol information to the public. “Flags for the Flagless” plans to reach out to as many schools as possible, on both a local and national level, to ensure that American Flags will fly in their classrooms. And they will continue to hang American Flags on flag poles throughout Tucson, Arizona and the USA.