Giving back to people who serve their communities by putting their lives on the line everyday is something that's important to Adam Beaulieu.
The former Alexandrian, who now lives in Texas, is an artist who creates wooden flags that use shotgun shell casings as the stars. When making the flags for law enforcement officers, Beaulieu will often add a thin blue line, representing officers who put their lives on the line each day, as one of the flag's stripes.
Beaulieu has donated several of these flags to law enforcement agencies, including the Alexandria Police Department.
"It's a beautiful piece of artwork," said Alexandria Police Captain Scott Kent. "Kudos to Adam, it touches our hearts."
Kent said that support for law enforcement officers doesn't happen in every community, but he is thankful that it does in Alexandria, calling the support officers receive from area residents "impressive."
"We are as taken care of in our community as we take care of its residents, just on a different level," said Kent. "Adam's artwork is fantastic and appreciated."
Beaulieu works with a group of what he called "blue collar guys who create unique and functional pieces of art." The group of four men call themselves the Wood Beavers and can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheWoodBeavers/.
Beaulieu began creating art about four years ago when his cousin asked him to make a wine rack. He did, posted a picture of it on social media, and then others wanted to know how they could order one like it.
He's always been interested in craftsmanship projects, and remembers working with his grandpa, who he said taught him a lot.
"I've also learned on my own," said Beaulieu. "I grabbed a pallet one day and started making something with it. I learned by trial and error."
Even though he works full-time as a landscaper, Beaulieu said he is constantly working on projects and will post items on his social media accounts and on the Wood Beavers Facebook page.
One of the first law enforcement flags he gave away was to an officer in the Twin Cities metro area who happened to be parked by Beaulieu. He always tries to keep artwork pieces in his vehicle and had one with him that day. Someone took a video of it and posted it, which Beaulieu said was humbling.
"I appreciate all they do for us," he said of law enforcement officers. "And my hope is that by giving these pieces away, donating them, it can brighten their day."
When he gave a flag to the Alexandria Police Department, he was passing through town after visiting his family here and decided to drop it off. It was on a Saturday, so the police department office was closed, and he decided to just leave it inside the door with his business card.
"I thought it would be a good start to the week when they found it on Monday," he said. "I left a thank you note with it."
That was the first time he had just left one like that. Beaulieu has since been back to the Alexandria Police Department. He met with Sgt. Chad Schroeder, who gave him a tour of the department along with a couple of souvenirs, including a police department patch and coin.
In addition, Schroeder donated a couple boxes of empty shell casings to Beaulieu to create more art pieces.
In a post on Instagram, Beaulieu said, "Thank you for the hospitality, patches, challenge coin and a tour I will never forget. Thank you all for your service and all you do for us. I will always back the blue."
Beaulieu can be found on Instagram at a.beaus_creations.