Star Divider

Ann Quale

Parent–Donges Bay Elementary School

“I recently had the great pleasure of working with Rip Maclay and his team at I Pledge USA.  Rip has been an active part of bringing our country’s past into the present with his artwork and fundraising efforts.  Honoring our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our freedom is evident in his “Liberty” piece and “I Pledge Allegiance” piece that have traveled throughout the country raising awareness.


This year I approached Rip to ask if Donges Bay Elementary School could  participate in a community fundraiser. The answer was “YES!”  Each child received a tile to decorate with an American theme; while some chose stars and stripes, others chose to design a memorial tile for a family member or friend.

Their excitement was contagious! Not only was this a “cool” art project, it was a fantastic lesson about our history and what it means to give back.  Together they created a 200lb. American flag that will forever hang in the hall at Donges Bay for all of us to enjoy.  Because this was a community fund raiser, we decided to print posters to sell and give all our proceeds to the I Pledge USA organization.”

Suzette Grube-Thur

Student Council Advisor at Donges Bay Elementary School

“We are pleased to present to you this check toward your mission of including the visual arts into the learning process, but more importantly, promoting the patriotic spirit in our young people.

As a school, we feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with you on the customized I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE artwork. Frequently, students, staff, and community members alike stopped to admire this beautiful expression of patriotism. As a student council, we enjoyed the experience of selling the IPA bracelets & the lovely posters produced from our customized artwork. There was much enthusiasm when we held a special school-wide spirit day entitled ‘Blast from the Past’ to benefit both IPA & the Stars & Stripes Honor Flight. Thank you for providing the bracelets and posters, both of which were hugely popular.

We look forward to working with you in the near future. Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity to be a part of your mission.”

“It is great to see the ‘I Pledge USA’ mural. At Donges Bay, we absolutely love our mural. Just yesterday, I saw students gathered around it looking for the tile they made/contributed to the school’s piece. What a wonderful project to be a part of.”

Renee Riddle

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight Board of Directors

“Stars and Stripes Honor Flight was thrilled to find Rip and the I Pledge USA team right in our backyard in the Milwaukee area.  Their expression of patriotism through art perfectly aligns with our mission of honoring veterans.  Our organization flies WWII and Korean war veterans on one day trips to Washington, DC to see their memorials.  As the subject of a recent documentary called Honor Flight, we hosted several events to honor veterans that featured two of Rip’s pieces “Liberty” and “I Pledge Allegiance”.  Each time the art work on display was a huge hit.  Both pieces were on display at Miller Park (home of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team) when we set an official Guinness World Record for the largest film screening. People waited in long lines to view the I Pledge artwork but were rewarded with a memorable and moving experience.  On another note, Rip and his team are great to work with.  They are very reliable, do what they say, and go out of their way to make working with them enjoyable and easy.  At Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, we believe the stories of freedom and sacrifice taught by our veterans should be shared with the younger generation. I Pledge USA is a fantastic way to start that conversation.”

Student Testimonials

“Thank you so much for arranging this project! Best project ever!  I will always remember it.”


 “Thank you for making this happen!”


 “Thank you!  I had a great experience doing it!  I hope you can do this again with other grades.”



“Thank you for making this project possible!”



“Thank you for letting us make these awesome tiles!”



“Thank you so much.  I’m having a lot of fun doing this!”



“Thank you so, so, so, so, so, so, so much!  I really loved it!  I would love to do it again!”



“Thanks for helping the 4th, 8th and 12th grades with the tile flag project.  We really appreciate it!”



Karen Olszewski

Nantucket Art Teacher, K-5
Hello from Nantucket Elementary School!  I must share how working with Rip and Patty on the IPLEDGE project has been exciting and fulfilling for all of us!  Every person age 5-65 who participated told me how they felt a sense of pride while designing their tile!  The three basic ideas we came up with while also incorporating an underlying depiction of patriotism were …

  • What Nantucket means to us!
  • Celebrating all types of sea life!
  • Hand print in various colors.

We found this project to be a creative and exhilarating experience because we were encouraged to use a variety of mixed media while celebrating our country and our ideas!  Thanks Rip and Patty!


Cindy Natvig

Marketing Coordinator, ElderSpan Management

“Being involved with “I Pledge USA” has been a great experience for All Saints – for the staff, the residents, and especially the veterans – who call All Saints their home.

Thank you for all you do to foster patriotism in this country and to remind us that ‘Freedom is not Free’.”


Colleen Keegan

Activity Professional Board Certified, ElderSpan Management

Our collaboration with “I Pledge USA” resulted in a very meaningful experience for the residents and staff at All Saints Assisted Living and Memory Care. The planning sessions for our tiles resulted in hours of reminiscing, story-sharing and emotional release for our veterans and their loved ones. As a group, we learned new things about the people that we had been spending every day with.

It was an eye-opening experience for the younger generation of volunteers that assisted with the tiles. Watching them celebrate the life stories of our residents was a truly special experience. The students learned things that you don’t read in history books or learn in school. They had the honor of listening to the experiences and feelings of the men and women who lived during that generation.

It was also a chance for our resident veterans to bond with our staff who are currently serving or have recently served overseas. The respect that the older generation had for our younger generation and vice-versa was truly amazing to see. They enjoyed hearing the individual perspectives and where they had been and how they had felt while serving their country. A common statement that was heard from our veterans over and over was, “I didn’t do much.”

Golda Meir School Girl Scout Troop # 8552

The process of constructing the flag from so many individual pieces was really a process of knitting together community. Our Girl Scouts had the opportunity to speak with veterans from the Air Force and Army before completing the flag and understood not only these veterans’ contribution to their nation, but also their individual role in our national community as citizens in-the-making. To see the whole that came from the parts was a joy for us, the troop leaders, and our scouts!


Lisa VandeWaa

School Social Worker, Godfrey-Lee Public Schools.
While on an ART PRIZE field trip with my students we happened upon the piece, I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE! I immediately thought it would be an exciting and meaningful project for the students of Godfrey-Lee and began talking with Patty Best about the possibility. That very day she had me set up and worked with our school to make it happen. Our 3rd and 4th grade students received one of the 312 tiles to decorate with American Heroes. The students researched heroes and then decorated their tiles. Some chose Historical Figures others American Icons and others family and friends. One child simply drew a soccer ball on his tile telling me that in his home country he would not be able to play soccer on a team but that here in America he was on a team and could be anything he wanted. Priceless! The students, staff and families love being able to view the finished product on the wall. The kids love to show off “their” tile and tell the story behind the meaning of their creation. Thank you for the opportunity to create a piece of artwork that will hold meaning for years to come!