By Linda Dillman
Old Glory has a new way to end its days in a respectful manner thanks to the efforts of Boy Scout Brett Smithers and a pair of flag collection boxes in Canal Winchester.
The 16-year-old high school junior—who started out as a Cub Scout in second grade—was looking for an Eagle Scout project.
“I chose to do the USA Flag Drop Boxes because, when trying to find a project, I realized there was no way for flags to be collected if they were old or tattered unless you directly knew a Scout family,” said Smithers. “I decided to do these boxes to allow the community to be able to turn over their flags whether they knew a Scout family or not. It’s important to have this service to the community because it provides a way for the flags of our community to be honored for what they represent and to allow them a proper retirement.”
One box is located in a pocket park between the two Canal Winchester elementary school buildings. Another is located near the public library on the west side of the Canal Winchester School District administration center.
Smithers said his first step was asking for donations and researching materials to build each box and install them on school property.
After receiving Canal Winchester school board approval in June, Smithers and a crew of adults – including his father, Brian Smithers and Jeff Tomlinson, Bill Ruth, Jill Amos and Jake Smithers; along with fellow scouts Nick Haskins, Owen Walker and Luke Smithers – spent a week constructing and painting the boxes.
“Following this, the boxes were loaded onto a truck and placed at the Columbus Metropolitan Library branch in Canal Winchester and in the garden between Winchester and Indian Trail elementary schools,” said Smithers. “These will be checked and flags inside will be collected once a month by Troop 103.”
Although the pair of collection boxes were only installed the middle of July, by the end of the month, Smithers already had 61 flags to dispose of during a ceremony with other members of Troop 103.
Old Glory would be proud.