Scout sees need, builds box for retired flags

Montville Mayor Ronald K. McDaniel Jr., center, shakes the hand of Boy Scout Vincenzo Florio of Troop 93 in Uncasville after Florio unveiled the new American Flag Retirement Box at the Montville Waste Disposal and Transfer Station Thursday in Montville.
Montville Mayor Ronald K. McDaniel Jr., center, shakes the hand of Boy Scout Vincenzo Florio of Troop 93 in Uncasville after Florio unveiled the new American Flag Retirement Box at the Montville Waste Disposal and Transfer Station Thursday in Montville. Tim Cook/The Day

Montville — In the past, people from throughout the town would occasionally stop by the Route 163 transfer station — where people bring their waste and recycling — as they searched for a place to dispose of worn and tattered flags.

Vincenzo Florio decided his Eagle Scout project would be to create a proper place for these flags to be kept.

Florio and the Boy Scouts from Troop 93 in Uncasville found a unique way Thursday afternoon to pay tribute to Flag Day. Florio led a ceremony at the town’s transfer station in which he unveiled a new flag retirement box. The troop will collect the flags to ensure they’re retired and burned in a special ceremony.

“At first, I started thinking about a mural,” Florio said of initial ideas for his Eagle Scout project. “Then I started last year with the model of the box. We almost didn’t make it (for Flag Day), but we got it done in time.”

The troop recognized the need for the flag retirement box after occasional talks with Florence “Flo” Turner, who has worked at the transfer station for 10 years. Turner said she would occasionally find discarded flags in Dumpsters and other places. She would put them aside for the troop to pick up.

The periodic trips to pick up the flags led to Florio’s idea. He said he used a computer program called Google SketchUp to make a model of the box and to incorporate a slanted lid to keep out rain water. The box is embossed with the Boy Scouts logo and sits next to an office at the transfer station.

American Legion Post 112 donated $230 for supplies, and the local Home Depot also made a donation to help the project come to fruition.

Troop 93 Scoutmaster Jeff Rogers said it’s been a point of emphasis for the troop to identify Eagle Scout projects that are unique and require a detailed and thought-out plan. To become an Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts must complete a service project in which they plan and secure the supplies and labor for a project that serves the community.

It was an added bonus to unveil the retirement box on Flag Day, which is meant to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. flag.

“This is an exceptional project,” Rogers said. “We try to challenge all the scouts with this and Vinny all on his own said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we could create a place for these flags?’”

Florio, 16, is a sophomore at Montville High School and said he hopes to officially become an Eagle Scout later this year. He shared a brief embrace with his father, Frank, during the ceremony and helped place three flags donated by the Zawacki family in the new box.

Florio added that he plans to spend a few hours the next four Saturdays promoting the use of the box to people who visit the transfer station.

It will be a fitting end to a project that was more than a year in the making.

jeff.johnson@theday.com

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