People within the community were seeking on where they could dispose of their old worn and torn flags. With it seeming like a growing concerning, something needed to be done. Something that was open and available 24/7 – 365 days a year. Most importantly it should be conveniently located.
The question now was, ‘What can be done to create a location for the community to properly dispose of their flags?’. Can a box be built out of wood, thought about creating something like a book drop that the library has, then after some research of what others are doing across country pictures of old retired curbside mailbox have been transformed it to collect flags. Made perfect sense. Now the quest begun, how and where do to obtain an old mailbox.
After a talk with the local Post Master and he donated an extra mail box that they just took off the street and was headed to the scrap yard. There was a few important guidelines the Post Master requested, the Box stays within the Town of Newbury, is used only for flags and is clearly marked and label ‘Flags Only – Not for Mail.’ – Easy enough!!
For it to be a true community feature, it must be made and supported by the community…
Once the flag box arrived the next step was to put together a plan and then execute. The key was to have it be a flag box for the community, by the community.
Designing the Box: The box was painted by Arts Students at Triton Regional High School.
Paint and Brushes: Pearson’s Hardware store in Byfield donated all the brushes and paint that were needed for the project.
Keeping the Box Secure: When I received the box there was no lock on it to keep the door closed. The Post Master informed me that I would have to obtain my own lock as the Post Office recycles all their locks. Easy enough, and totally understandable. I reached out to my friend at Al’s Lock Service and pitch the project to him. He said he has those locks in stock and to just let him know when I need it he would gladly donate it to the box.
Location / Placing the Flag Box: Picking the location for the box is key. It has to be available for the community to get to 24/7, and at a location that’s easy for people to find and convenient for them to get too and what’s a better place then, the Fire Department. After reaching to the Byfield Fire Department and explaining to them what the box would be for, how it was going to be maintained and what I was looking for they were for excited and open to be involved. I swung by the Fire Station and we picked a location that would be great for the box, allow those dropping off flags to stop and not be in the way of the fire department operations. The location could not of been better – it’s like it was planned to be.
Open for Use: The flag box was officially opened to the public in August 2016, several local residents joined us, Domino’s Pizza donated pizza, Fire Fighters and Town Officials joined us for the ceremony. In the weeks following the flags started to flow in and I could not keep up with the demand. Seemed every time I turned around the flag box needed to be empty. Between August and Veterans Day 2016 over 1,200 flags were collected. Running out of space – Secretary Francisco Urena invited us to bring the flags down to a Flag Retiring Ceremony in West Roxbury and join them.
What Flags can be dropped in the box? The box has collected and can collect every kind of flags from State Flags, Town Flags, POW Flags, Cemetery Markers and Full-Size American Flags.