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One cool gift
By: Jimmy Tomlin, STAFF WRITER05/25/2005
Graphik Dimensions sent about 30 professionally framed photos and posters to help decorate the new headquarters of Dwayne Melson's unit in Tikrit, Iraq, and he found a very special way to show his appreciation.
HIGH POINT - A local company's goodwill gesture for a U.S. soldier in Iraq has employees flying high after he sent them an American flag in return.
The 31/2-by-7-foot flag, which was flown over Iraq during a combat mission, has been framed and now hangs in the break room of Graphik Dimensions.
"It's probably the coolest gift I and we have ever gotten," says Robyn Feinsod, who handles marketing and communications for the High Point company.
Feinsod received the flag from helicopter pilot Dwayne Melson of the 36th Medical Evacuation Battalion, a Fort Hood, Texas unit based in Tikrit, Iraq. Enclosed with the flag was a letter of authenticity, signed by Melson and his commanding officer.
"I flew this flag myself in a UH-60 Blackhawk MEDEVAC helicopter on a combat mission," Melson wrote in a thank-you note. "...Your flag has been to all four corners of Iraq."
Melson sent the flag after Graphik Dimensions' Web-based company, PictureFrames.com, donated about 30 professionally framed photos and posters to help decorate the new headquarters of Melson's unit. He had e-mailed PictureFrames.com requesting a few frames.
"He said the walls were bare and the place was very depressing-looking, and he was just trying to make it feel more like home," Feinsod recalls.
"He said the frames could even be defects - they didn't have to be perfect. It was a very humbling request, and it was absolutely something we wanted to do."
PictureFrames.com offered to send self-mounting frame kits for some artwork that had already been donated. Then Feinsod encouraged Melson to send some digital images of his unit for framing, too.
"We have a new 'Print & Frame' service that enables us to enlarge and edit digital imagery, print it on premium paper and then mat and frame it in the products we offer," she says. "This way, we helped personalize the space with images that show them as the heroes they are."
Melson e-mailed dozens of images - of himself, his unit, helicopters, a Mardi Gras celebration his unit held, and photos of Christmas with his family during his most recent visit home.
According to Feinsod, PictureFrames.com personnel framed about 30 images. "They were mostly 8-by-10s," she says. "We didn't do huge ones, because we didn't know what kind of wall space they had."
The company shipped most of the framed pictures to Melson's unit in Tikrit, but the framed Christmas images were sent to Melson's wife, Kim, in Killeen, Texas.
Feinsod followed up with Melson to make sure the framed images had arrived, and he told her he was delighted with them.
"He said they really perked the place up," she says.
Feinsod thought that was the end of it, until a few weeks ago, when the flag arrived in the mail.
"It was really sweet and generous, and completely unexpected and unwarranted," she says.
"You do things because it's the right thing to do. But when there's a really clear appreciation, you're even more humbled by it."
©High Point Enterprise 2005