A Bethlehem woman's project is reaching out locally to honor American soldiers and veterans from all over the world.

Beth Masiado has an initiative that she is hoping to start locally.

The project includes taking used American flags with embroidered stars and repurposing them.

Each star is cut out, placed in plastic and handed to, given to, or mailed to an American soldier or veteran at home, on base, or overseas with a card that reads:

"I am part of our American flag that has flown over a home in the United States. I can no longer fly. The sun and winds have caused me to become tattered and torn. Please carry me with you as a reminder you are not forgotten."

"I have 100 flags so far," she said. "The more flags I receive the more I can do."

She noted that each worn out flag can touch the lives of 50 American soldiers.

"I'm newly established in the Lehigh Valley," she said. "I have received two flags from a wonderful gentleman from Lehighton, retired Col. Loan."

Masiado assures everyone that the flags are respected.

"The remaining stripes are burned," she noted. "The flags are retired before they are turned over to me."

She is hoping to work with local veterans groups, such as the Legion, Sons of the American Legion and VFW.

"This project started in Florida and has been taking off," she said. "My brother was a Vietnam veteran, so I know how these soldiers were disrespected. Sending each soldier or veteran a star from the American flag is giving each one of them a piece of everything they fought for - everything they believed in."

She said that she began the project by collecting flags and sending them to a Chapter in New York. She began her own Chapter in Bethlehem after the New York Chapter asked to consider forming a group in Pennsylvania.

"The more flags we receive, the more lives we can touch," said Masiado.

To contact Beth Masiado call 610-861-0109 or email her at bmasiado@msn.com [1].

The project is in cooperation with Gettysburg Flags at www.starsforourtroops.com [2].