Betsy Ross would have been proud of Kayla Dominique’s ingenuity and patriotism.
Kayla, a resident of Cement City, Mich., needed to install a nonflammable barrier behind her wood stove. However, building a stone wall was cost-prohibitive. That’s when Kayla got creative and put her coin collection to good use.
“Before I became a realtor, I worked as a bartender for many years,” she said. “During that time, I accumulated a lot of change, including many pennies. It suddenly dawned on me, ‘Why not build a fireproof wall out of pennies and honor our American flag in the process?’”
Three years ago, Kayla began this project in her basement, where she sorted through thousands of multi-hued pennies and glued them to a large board. Kayla used brand new pennies to represent the white stripes and older pennies for the red stripes. For the blue area of the flag, Kayla used pennies that had oxidized and changed to a bluish color.
“Blue pennies aren’t that common, so it took a lot longer to find enough of them to fill the blue square,” Kayla recalls. “I managed to find a lot of blue pennies in the coin holders at gas stations and pizza shops. Some of my clients and friends also contributed pennies for the project. I even reached out to folks on Facebook and got a nice response from people who wanted to help.”
Kayla and her husband, Levi, eventually moved the flag-in-progress to their living room wall, where they finished the project in January 2019. The completed flag includes 7,700 pennies, each with its own unique story.
“There are probably millions of people who carried those pennies at one time or another,” said Kayla. “It’s really powerful when you stop to think where a penny has gone during its life. When I was gluing the pennies to the wall, I prayed for our country and the people who touched them.”
Although the flag wall has become a treasured centerpiece of the Dominique’s living room, Kayla and Levi are thinking of moving it to a bar/restaurant they hope to open one day.
“It would be cool to display this flag in our bar and share it with many other people,” said Kayla, who is already thinking of using blue pennies for another creative project.
Wherever Kayla’s flag wall is displayed, she is proud to show her love for her country.
“My husband and I are 100 percent behind everything that the U.S. flag stands for,” said Kayla, who is one-eighth Native American and comes from a military family. “We have a lot of respect for our flag. I’m glad I took part in this project.”