Eagle Scout Gathers, Retires Over 2,600 Old Flags Amid Pandemic

LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA — A local Eagle Scout candidate gathered over 2,000 American flags during the coronavirus pandemic for his project, Patch has learned. Pierce Stewart, a member of Troop 772 in Laguna Niguel, wanted to “do something that would rally the community and generate a feeling of patriotism,” especially while coronavirus kept people apart.

Pierce Stewart, a sophomore at Aliso Niguel High School, began reaching out to the neighbors for his flag collection and retirement project. Using flyers, he sent out word of his intentions to collect and retire old or damaged flags across his neighborhood. The outreach touched the community in an outpouring of flags and goodwill to the rising Eagle Scout.

“Typically, Eagle projects are done with the scout taking charge from beginning to end,” mother Brett Brofman tells Patch. Dennis Powell of the American Legion Laguna Woods Village – Post 257, signed off on the project.

Stewart began his project on Memorial Day, aiming to collect in the neighborhood of 200 flags. They followed coronavirus social distancing procedures, picking up flags off porches, or having them delivered, contact-free.

Using social media, including the Patch Orange County Neighbor Pages, Stewart shared his project intentions. Due to the broad reach of the internet, many flags were mailed from other states, along with notes and messages about where they came from.

They used a great deal of hand-sanitizer, his mother Brett Brofman told Patch.

“Within three days, the community handed in upwards of 500 flags,” Stewart says. Orange County Fire Authority donated a box of old flags, and Dana Point Hardware also acted as a collection site in this true community effort.

The flag collection goal is to properly retire flags that are worn, torn, and otherwise unflyable. Typically the flags are folded and then ceremonially burned.
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“Each flag is special and has a story,” he says. “They come in all sizes.”

Some have flown over a home or business, and others over fire stations, local City Halls, or government buildings.

“One flag flew over the California State Capitol in Sacramento,” he says. Stewart’s family determined to make his flag collection part of their summer travels.

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