Wellington Boy Scouts and are doing their part to protect the red, white, and blue.
Scout Charlie McCarty, a 16-year-old sophomore at the Lorain County JVS, is helping to lead a village-wide effort to properly retire old or damaged American flags.
“We’ve been doing this flag retirement project ever since we started out at the Firelands scout reservation,” he said. “I, myself, have been doing it for six years now. We do it because we’ve heard of people leaving their flags up until they’re very beat up. Then when they take them down, they just ball it up and throw it in the trash.”
More than 100 flags have been collected in the area so far, McCarty said. He described the process of dismantling the flags: cutting apart every stripe and field of blue, then burning each portion separately and completely.
“I feel a great amount of responsibility when it comes to protecting the flag because I have family member serving in the military,” he said. “I have cousins and uncles in the Marines and a second cousin in the Army. My plan is to join the Marines after I finish high school.”
Gil Shellhouse, race director of the King Realty Spirit of ‘76 5K Memorial Day run, has also contributed to the Scout’s collection.
“I just brought in my own flag that was pretty well deteriorated,” said Shellhouse. “I’ve seen a number of flags around Wellington that could be recycled. People need to do a better job keeping up with that. It’s very beneficial for the Scouts to be doing this.”
Main Street Wellington is working alongside the scouts on the project. It’s just one in a long line of successful partnerships between the two organizations, according to Main Street director Jenny Arntz.
“The Boy Scouts have been working with Main Street since well before I came on board,” she said. “They’ve always been very helpful with a number of things like the Garden Gazebo Walk and picking up trash for community service. I first worked with them for our Christmas tree dedicated to veterans, police, fire, and any other emergency response public servants. It goes up right in village square each year. I love working with the Boy Scouts. Charlie’s mom, Valerie, called to see if we wanted to help with the flag collection and we gladly said yes.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise Gil Shellhouse and Charlie McCarty want village residents to be more vigilant in properly retiring their American flags.