Artwork is often inspired by world events. Twenty-year-old North Royalton resident Leo Negomedzyanou, a full time computer science student at Cuyahoga Community College, made and donated a handcrafted American wooden flag to the local police department.
“I just thought that’s what I should do,” Negomedzyanou said of the gesture. “All the news and what is going on in America right now, it makes me feel sad, so I made it, walked into the police department and gave it to them.”
Days later, Negomedzyanou got a call from a local lieutenant thanking the young man for his donation.
“I picked up the phone and a voice said, ‘This is the North Royalton Police Department,’ and my first thought was, ‘Uh-oh, what did I do?’ It was the first time I got a call from the police department,” he said jokingly.
Negomedzyanou’s donation stemmed from his side hobby assisting his neighbor with her Etsy business, NEOWorkshop (also on Facebook at Northeast Ohio Woodshop), that crafts wooden home décor such as custom address signs, wood cutting boards, wall mounted bottle openers, signs bearing company logos and various American Flag designs like the one Negomedzyanou made and donated to the North Royalton Police Department. The ecommerce business also creates a popular wood carving inspired by Marvel Comics character, “The Punisher,” which has come to represent military, veterans and law enforcement, Negomedzyanou explained. He’s also toying around with some new custom designs like a Dungeons & Dragons dice board, custom engraved football helmet signs, wooden home placards with raised letters and even wooden lighting.
He assists his neighbor with NEOWorkshop’s social media marketing and the design work and crafting using a CNC machine that does cutting, carving and engraving. To top it all off, Negomedzyanou is completely self-taught.
“It’s just something I do for fun. It is my hobby,” Negomedzyanou said, who one days hopes to work in cyber security. “It’s very entertaining. You can draw anything in the software and the machine will calculate it and create it very precisely. You set functions like the speed, how deep it plunges into the material, how it moves around, and the CNC programs itself to move exactly to your settings. It’s a lot of fun.”
Officers welcomed him back to the department to take a photo and thank him for his thoughtful donation.
“It was really awesome and unexpected,” Negomedzyanou said, humbled by the entire experience. “I’ve received so many nice words from the people who live here in North Royalton.”
Detective Dave Loeding, the public information officer for North Royalton Police Department, was moved by the gesture, as were employees within the department. The wood carved flag has been hung in the roll call room – the “Grand Central Station of a police department,” Loeding said, where officers start and end their shifts and discuss the day. Loeding is a wood-worker himself and was impressed at the precision and uniqueness of the design, commenting that it stands out from afar and up close.
“In today’s world, it’s a nice gesture,” Loeding said. “He not only has skills in wood-working, but he also has a good heart. We thank the man. We live by the flag here.”

Contributing Writer