Flat Daddies and Mommies
Free graphics offered for military families.
Families of active-duty troops.
SFC Graphics (www.sfcgraphics.com), Toledo, OH
Tools & Supplies
MacDermid ColorSpan DisplayMaker 72uv, LexJet 55 Intermediate Adhesive Vinyl, Adobe Photoshop.
With American troops deployed overseas, the families at home are dealing with missing spouses and parents. But it is often the families’ children that understand the least and emotionally suffer the most.
In August of last year, National Public Radio (NPR) aired a segment on Sgt. First Class Barbara Claudel’s attempt to keep children connected to their dad or mom in Iraq or Afghanistan. Claudel was printing life-size images (from the chest up) of the soldiers serving abroad and providing them to the families. She dubbed them "Flat Daddies" because, with the image mounted onto foamboard, children could take them to soccer games and special events at school, sit them at the dinner table, or talk to them before they fell asleep at night.
Eric Crockett of SFC Graphics of Toledo, OH, heard the NPR piece and decided to help. Last September, the century-old print shop created the www.flatdaddies.com website, where immediate families of deployed military could order, for free, a flat daddy/mommy. With the help of corporate donations and sponsors, SFC soon began printing the "flat" posters and getting them to the immediate families at little or no cost.
From the flatdaddies.com website, set up by SFC, photos can be submitted via e-mail. Typically, some tweaking of images is required because the "flat daddy" or "flat mommy" often has to be cropped out of group shots. The shop uses Adobe Photoshop to enlarge images to life-size for printing.
The photos are printed on SFC’s MacDermid ColorSpan DisplayMaker 72uv, using LexJet 55 Intermediate Adhesive Vinyl, which is donated by LexJet. The 26 x 36-in. posters are packed and shipped to the families, who can easily mount the self-adhesive image to a rigid substrate such as foamboard.
The orders continue to roll in-typically three to five orders per day. The website has received more than 3000 orders and has shipped out more than 1500 to date.
"The gratitude and ‘emotional’ payment we receive from the families who receive the Flat Daddies is like nothing I’ve ever experienced,' says Crockett. "We will continue offering the Flat Daddies at no charge to the children and families, and in the near future we [hope] relevant partners will support this unique and worthy cause."