PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — What happens to fire hoses when they become beaten and battered on the job? For many, they’re thrown away; the lucky ones are given to Panama City Beach firefighter Daryl Paul.
“I love my country, I love my city and I love my job,” said Paul.
The hoses start off brand new. However, like the people who use them, they go through tough battles of their own.
“Each hose has got a story behind it,” said Scott Frazier, a firefighter who works with Paul at Panama City Beach Fire Station #2. “It’s been into something that not a lot of people or things get to experience.”
When they’re too beaten up to continue serving, Paul takes them home, cleans them up, puts on a fresh coat of paint and makes them into American flags.
The idea started as a way for Paul to make some extra money to support his family. Now he’s made over 100 of them and they can be found all over the area, around the country and even internationally.
“A bunch of businesses around town here have them,” said Paul. “I’ve shipped them as far as Mexico [and] Chicago.”
Frazier has watched Paul’s flags take off.
“It’s kind of crazy,” said Frazier. “Someone all the way over there got ahold of Daryl Paul here in little old Panama City, was like ‘hey I want one of these!'”
“Something I made is hanging on somebody’s wall in their house,” said Paul. “So, it’s kind of cool.”
The flags have become more to Paul than just a side job.
“Now it’s turned into something else,” he said. “It’s something I enjoy to do, it’s a project, something I can do with my own hands.”
“Firemen and first responders in general, we go through a lot and some of it can be traumatizing,” said Frazier. “Making these flags, it takes your mind off it.”
One firefighter’s hose is another’s masterpiece; given a new life, and now, a bigger meaning.
To get in touch with Paul about having a piece made, click here.