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Heading to new heights for the Stars and Stripes

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Posted at 4:28 PM, Sep 30, 2022

DENVER — When you look at the top of a tall building in Denver, you might expect to see an American flag on a flagpole. You might be surprised to see a flag and a man on that pole.

If you do, that man is likely Todd Ross, and he’s just doing his day job.

“It’s something people don’t see everyday or even tomorrow,” Ross said with a laugh.

Ross started his own company, "Raising Freedom," after driving I-25 and seeing flagpoles without flags on them in the Denver Tech Center. He became a Steeplejack, or flagpole climber, and now inspects, repairs, paints, cleans or installs poles and flags across the country.

“To me, I just wanna see a flag on that flagpole,” he said.

Heading to new heights for the Stars and Stripes

His services are usually required for flags that can’t be easily accessed, like those on top of buildings. One of his more challenging jobs came on the top of the Daniel’s and Fisher Clocktower on Denver’s 16th Street Mall.

“Up we go,” he said.

Denver7 followed Ross on his climb up that clocktower — first, up a spiral staircase to access the area that houses the bell, then up a ladder and into a small room on top of the bell tower, then out a side compartment, on top of the dome, and up the flagpole to inspect the flag flying at the top.

“Top of this pole to the ground is about 485 feet,” he said.

Using specialty braces attached to his shoes, Ross climbed the pole, unfurled the flag and inspected it for holes or wear and tear.

“When it gets to a point where it can no longer be flown, then we will put a new one up,” he said.

What makes him do it? Ross is a Navy veteran whose strong connection to the flag runs through generations.

“I have a military background, come from a military family. My son’s in the military, my daughters’ a police officer. So yeah, it’s all about the flag,” he said.

The Daniel’s Fisher tower is admittedly one of his more challenging climbs, but he said it is worth it every time, especially when he gets to raise a new American flag.

“When that brand new fresh flag’s flying and that first puff of wind hits, yeah, it just gets you right to our core,” he said.

You can learn more about Ross and his mission on the Raising Freedom website.