Retirement Box Continues To Collect Flags One Year Later

In 2020, Jacob Grdovic unveiled his project. In the beginning the box would overflow and he would come collect flags twice a week. (Photo courtesy Louise Grdovic)

  HOWELL – One year ago, a local Boy Scout created a project providing an accessible way to dispose of old flags. Today the project continues on impressively, filling a need for the community no one realized was that big.

  Boy Scout Jacob Grdovic of Troop 300 in Howell Township wanted to create something unique when it came to his Eagle Scout project. Having to construct something in the midst of the pandemic, he had the idea of building a flag retirement box.

  “He wanted to come up with an idea that’s something different, and thank goodness he did because every week it’s full. Jacob religiously empties it every week,” Jacob’s mom Louise said.

  Located outside the station of Southard Fire Department No.1 on Route 9, Jacob unveiled his flag retirement box in October of last year.

Jacob Grdovic built a flag retirement box as his Eagle Scout project, serving a need for residents to properly dispose of old flags. (Photo by Alyssa Riccardi)

  David Lovey, the President and Lieutenant at Southard Fire Department, explained that when Jacob first approached them about the project, they were all about it and wanted to help him out.

  “I believe he went around and gathered donations of all the different materials. He may have even invested some himself into it to get it built. It was impressive how he went ahead and got it all done, I believe he did it all through the COVID pandemic too. He saw it through and did a great job,” Lovey said.

  Lovey said how many residents would come to them bringing old flags and they would have to direct them elsewhere.

  “I think it was definitely something our community needed. We would get approached by people all the time looking to see where they could take retired American flags and we always directed them to the VFW or different places so that they can be handled properly,” Lovey said.

  When the box first was first installed, Jacob would have to empty it out every two days. One year later, the box is still collecting flags with Jacob coming by once a week to pick them up.

“In the very beginning Jacob said he would come every two weeks or so to empty it, but it was full every two days. Especially in the beginning, there was just a back log of people in need of that kind of service. That thing was filled, we were back and forth talking all the time saying ‘hey it’s overflowing again’ and they would shoot right down and empty it out,” Lovey said. “Talk about filling a need for the community, he did it. What a success… I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Photo by Alyssa Riccardi

  Today, Jacob still maintains the box, coming on a regular basis to pick up flags and keeping the box looking nice on the outside.

  “We’re all tremendously proud of him and of the project… It’s truly a service that was needed in the community,” Louise said.

 If you need to retire an old flag, visit the Southard Fire Department No.1 located at 4611 Route 9 in Howell and find the flag retirement box at the front of the building.