Storm of the century trees become patriotic tribute

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LEELANAU COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- In August 2015, a so-called 100-year storm tore across Leelanau County, leaving signs of its strength and fury in the form of thousands of downed trees. Two Leelanau County craftsman are turning some of those trees into a sign of the American spirit.

Scott Sheehan and his business partner at Leelanau Rustic, Brandon Steck have been busy working on their patriotic projects since the storm moved through. In their workshop, the duo handcraft wooden American flags out of the storm’s aftermath. Scott explains "they are all made from the downed trees from the August 2nd, 2015 storm. We take the wood, mill it right here at our shop. We lay it all out, we char the pieces of wood before they are stained to give it a cooler look."

They take wood that Mother Nature knocked down and turn it into a piece of Americana. Stacked outside their workshop, piles of the timber that once blocked roads and took down power lines. There is a lot of it, but it’s not an unlimited supply and the clock is ticking on getting it turned into something useful. Scott says, "the 2015 storm wood, we have quite a bit here still, but it's the stuff that's still in the woods and everything that's starting to rot."

As if you needed another reason to display an American flag, Scott says folks that are buying his have one. Scott says, "Everybody from the area has a story, 'oh we were here during that storm, or we had this done to our house.' So, having that little memory of the 100-year storm, they absolutely love it."

Scott and Brandon just starting to really sell their wooden flags. It's been word of mouth up to this point, but it seems that storm and this symbol have far reaching appeal. Scott says, "it's something that they cherish, they put them somewhere special, over the mantel, wherever, so it's pretty neat to do that."

To learn more about Leelanau Rustic and their American flag creations, click here.

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