Patriotic act on camera as soldiers retrieve American flag in storm

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A flagpole is standing now, but that wasn't the case a few weeks ago when a violent storm swept through.

Strong wind gusts knocked down the flag flying outside Top Gun Shooting Sports in Taylor, Mich. What happened immediately after was caught on camera -- and has now been viewed thousands of times. As it fell, two Army veterans sprang into action.

"The whole thing happened in less than a minute," said Sgt. Eric Barkhorn.

Their efforts to restore the flagpole were caught on camera.

"I saw the flag hit the ground and I wasn't going to leave the flag on the ground," said Barkhorn.

"Eric was out there very quickly, he got the flag pretty fast," said Sgt. Jared Ferguson. "I was out there shortly after him to help him get it."

It all happened during the gun range's Patriot Week. Sergeants Jared Ferguson and Eric Barkhorn were there recruiting. That duty was interrupted with a more foundational one - and it came with some risk. 

"Obviously a pretty tall metal pole, we didn't want to have it in our hands too long with the strong storm coming through with the risk of lightning," Ferguson said. "We got it back on the ground and was able to go for the flag itself and not the whole thing."

"The hail was pounding them and the big part of the storm was coming in about 10 seconds after they got in the building," said Mike Barbour.

Barbour, the owner of Top Gun Shooting Sports, says the storm wrecked part of the building and the rooftop air conditioner units, causing more than $100,000 in damage. The flag, safe.

"It was pretty cool that the guys were there and did that and reacted as quick as they did," Barbour said. "These guys go overseas they've all been on deployment at different times and they risk their life and now they're back here doing recruitment work and they're still risking their lives."

And Top Gun was able to fix the pole just in time for a flag lowering ceremony at the end of their Patriot Week.

As for Sergeants Ferguson and Barkhorn, they say they're surprised with all of the attention this has gotten -- and say they were just doing what any soldiers would do in that situation.