MALTA — Zegers Freedom Flags is a small business focused on creating handcrafted wooden American Flags.
The father-daughter team Arthur and Morgan Zegers create the flags together. The two came up with the idea when Morgan Zegers graduated in 2018 and she found herself left with student debt. At the time, Art Zegers had watched online tutorials on how to create the wooden American flags and suggested they try creating one themselves.
“After we made one, it was so beautiful we didn’t know what to do with it,” Morgan Zegers said. “We donated it to the local VFW, we were both members in Malta when we lived there. Our friend got cancer from Agent Orange when he served in Vietnam, so they had a fundraiser for him and we donated [the flag] and a ton of people wanted to buy more. We began selling them after that.”
Colonel Arthur Zegers served the country in Operation Iraqi Freedom and on the site of 9/11. Morgan Zegers is the founder and CEO of Young Americans Against Socialism and owner of Zegers Freedom Flags.
When the two first began making flags, Morgan Zegers would hand carve the stars with a dremel. Soon after, the Eagle-Matt Lee Fire Department in Ballston Spa purchased 28 flags as gifts for each member of the fire department.
“We just couldn’t make that many by hand so we ordered the CNC machine. That allows us to not only do the stars, but we can also do custom carvings,” Morgan Zegers said.
A Computer Numerical Control, CNC, is the automated control of machining tools and 3D printers by means of the computer. A CNC machine processes a piece of material, in this case wood, to meet specifications by following a coded programmed instruction and without a manual operator.
To create the flags, Art Zegers said he purchases the wood that he then cuts into small strips. He will stockpile the lumber, then burn the wood and stain it. They then put together the custom flag.
“It’s nice to be able to make a flag, but when it comes out as well as we make it, it’s pretty rewarding to hand it to a customer. They just really appreciate it and they send me photos of it hanging in the living room or in their office. It’s very rewarding in that aspect,” Art Zegers said.
Two years ago, Megan Zeggers ran for New York’s State Assembly, which led to a plethora of networking for flag donations and sales.
“It’s really a big network of people who are already involved with great causes,” Megan Zegers said.
Both Megan and Art Zegers have full times jobs, and find themselves creating the flags in the evenings during their free time.
“I’m just doing this as a hobby now for when I do retire in four years as a civilian and a reservists. With all my military connections…this is where I’m getting my custom work. From different soldiers, engineers, military police and the units that I belong to are all ordering flags from me. So that was very rewarding especially since I worked with them,” Art Zegers said.
The business has grown to be a family affair, as Morgan Zeger’s brother now lends a helping hand. She added that her favorite part was the time she spends with her father.
“Working with my dad is the best. We don’t talk very much as we work because it’s pretty loud. Other times we’ll be really busy and sometimes we don’t work for very long, but it has been really nice to spend the time with him,” Morgan Zegers said. “All of our best customers are military family members or family members with people in law enforcement. It’s just really exciting to know that we are creating something that means a lot to the people receiving the gift. It means a lot to us.”