a little story about being thankful
Ah.. it’s Thanksgiving time again, and just the word brings thoughts of a succulent turkey dinner, stuffing, pumpkin pie, football, a fabulous parade to watch, while hopefully embracing the one thing that is most important to us all: the family. The holiday itself may kick off the biggest shopping weekend of the year, and awake every one of our senses to jump into that holiday spirit, but now we want to share a little story about someone who has truly embraced the meaning of “giving”.
At 50 years old, self-taught artist Gene Gilligan, a resident of East Hampton NY, quietly produces American flags with a folk art inspiration in a barnyard addition to his home that he built with his own two hands. A ‘trim’ carpenter by trade, Gene has worked on some of the Hampton’s most incredible mansions, but remains humbled and warmed by his own depth of simplicity and integrity. Always a free spirit, and somewhat adventurous, Gene biked his way from Montauk to Los Angeles, just to work as a Rickshaw driver for the 1986 Olympics. His journey, however, wasn’t about the destination, but rather to “taste the character” of America from start to finish.
Peddling his way across the northern route of the US, Gene encountered so many people who opened up their homes, who gave him food and shelter, and trusted him to sit on their front porch. He was even more moved by the depth of stories of the many families whose children were overseas fighting for our freedoms here at home. When 9/11 hit, Gene was further inspired by those who had given their lives in this senseless tragedy, and by all the service people in all different aspects of life in America who contribute to our freedom and our future. His question was, “How can I best give something back – how can I best make people aware of thanking those who contribute to our free life?” Gene’s pondering led to making replicated *American flags out of dune fences used to shield the sandy beach areas of the mansions he worked on.
These incredible flags are one of a kind, all conceived and executed with Gene’s commitment to raise awareness, and simply to say ‘thank you’ to the men and women who shield us and keep us safe. Like a pied piper, Gene gives away the flags to VFW centers, to the veterans themselves, to families of service people, to police departments, post offices, and wherever he can, just to make people stand proud and stand thankful for what our great country affords us. His flags can be spotted on street corners and store fronts from Montauk to the West Coast, and even in an overseas embassy. Gene says: “I want people to know that giving is contagious, and saying thank you is a gesture everyone should exercise”.
*The flags are available in several sizes from
1 x 2, 2×4, 4 x 8 and priced accordingly starting @$50.00
contact Gone Local @ 631-267-5315 (ask for Susan Kulick)