Local Eagle Scout establishes flag collection


Eagle Scout Ryan Jarvis stands next to his collection receptacle in the Government Center of Viera.

Austin Rushnell

Boy Scouts have long been associated with patriotism, and one local Eagle Scout took that message to trial.

Eagle Scout Ryan Jarvis of Viera, 18, decided to create a permanent establishment to collect old and retired flags at the Government Center of Viera.

“I got inspiration (for the project) from my family,” Jarvis said. “My father, grandfather, my mother’s brother and my father’s brother — they’re all veterans; I’m inspired by their service and I wanted to give back not only to them but to all people who have served and paid tribute to the flag.”

According to Jarvis, many are unaware of how a flag should be properly disposed of once it has  reached the point of retirement.

The Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts of America) offers a number of options for retiring a flag, including cutting and burning, conducting a burning ceremony, recycling the material, or even cutting the flag in a specific manner and disposing of the flag normally.

Specifically, the Scouts BSA guidelines state that, “We simply need to ask ourselves if the manner in which we are retiring (destroying) the flag is dignified. If the answer is yes, then that method is perfectly acceptable.”

“(A flag should be considered for retirement) when the colors are faded, when there are rips and tears, when there are stains,” Jarvis explained. “Any sort of visible damage.”

For his project, Jarvis built a receptacle for the flags as a permanent installation in the Government Center of Viera, where it now resides in Lobby C.

The flags are collected at interspersed intervals, and Jarvis intends to find a local veterans program to take over the collection once he is no longer living in the area.