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Metal worker made hundreds of roses for the Veteran Outreach Center

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FAIRPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — Local metal worker and craftsman Marc Gaiger has created hundreds of copper roses to benefit the Veteran Outreach Center. You can currently buy the roses at the Stars and Stripes Flag Store at the VOC.

Gaiger has been building longer than he can remember, whether it was wood, or metal.

“I had a great dad who was empowering teacher,” Gaiger said. “He helped me find this calling.”

His takes that passion, and has turned it into purpose.

“I can take virtually nothing, and turn it into something, and make somebody happy,” he said.

Along with personal, artistic, and contract jobs, Gaiger makes these copper roses. All of the profit from the sales of the roses goes to the VOC.

Gaiger started hand-making them 20 years ago, all with copper sheet metal and scrap copper wire.

“Especially at this time of year, I stop everything on New Years, and I power through until Valentine’s Day,” Gaiger said. “I use this time only to make hundreds of these, and hopefully sell out.”

Why a rose?

“What better gift to get on Valentine’s day than a rose?” Gaiger rhetorically asked.

Up until this year, he did them alone. Now, people from the community come in and help out. They made 400 this year, and are hoping to surpass last year’s total of $8,800.

“Last year (the VOC) served 2,000 veterans,” Gaiger said.

He was inspired to improve the lives of veterans, some of whom need job training when they come back. According to Gaiger, the Rochester VOC has helped 400 veterans get job placement.

“They put it all on the line, and go through a great deal, and sacrifice to help us have the lives that we have,” Gaiger said. “If nothing else, they deserve the same, or better — sometimes they just need a little bit of help.”

He has accomplished his goal. His own personal and website stock is sold out, but you can still buy the flowers at the Stars and Strips Flag Store at the VOC.

When asked if he could say how it makes him feel to turn his passion into something that helps people, he simply raised his arms in the air, and posed like Atlas holding up the earth, and said:

“It’s impossible to say. Amazing,” he said.

“I’m just happy raising the bar a little bit each year, and hopefully getting other people to participate in what I enjoy so much,” Gaiger said. “And maybe getting the feeling I get when I do these things, because it’s immeasurable.”

Watch Marc answer Dan’s “Big Three” here:

“I want to inspire others to give back and participate. Everyone has a gift that they can share. I’ve done that many, many times, and I’d like to do it more.”

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