Thanks to an Eagle Scout project by Yosemite High School senior Hunter Duke and the Kiwanis Club of Oakhurst, there is now a permanent American flag drop box at the Oakhurst Community Center. From there, the flags will be properly retired.
The Kiwanis Club organized a community flag drop-off at the community center in early December and 20 Mountain Area residents delivered 50 old and tattered flags that needed to be properly retired. The club provided lunch for community members that delivered their flags.
When the U.S. flag becomes worn or faded, it is important to take it down and properly dispose of it. The U.S. flag code states that when an American the flag “is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
Duke, a member of Troop 341, and YHS sophomore and troop member Quade Kennison retired the old flag that was on the flag pole at the community center, and replaced it with a new one.
“I feel the drop box was a necessity in the community and we have already seen the high level of interest because we collected 50 flags at our event in December, and an additional 25 flags have been placed in the drop box,” Duke said. “I’m happy many members of the community seem to like what I have done. My Eagle Scout project will ensure that American flags will be retired in the proper way.”
The drop box itself was donated to Duke by the Coarsegold Post Office - and Duke spent about 25 hours converting the mail box, removing the old paint and lettering and adding the new lettering.
Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler attended the flag drop-off event in December.
“This was a much needed service for the community, since many people hold on to flags in the hopes that they can be retired properly,” Wheeler said.
For every 100 boys who join scouting, only one will attain the Eagle Scout rank. Duke now joins a prestigious list that includes astronauts Neil Armstrong and James Lovell, former President Gerald Ford, movie producer Steven Spielberg, and many governors, senators, business leaders, and Medal of Honor recipients across the United States.
In addition to many skills, the scouting program stresses character development of young men who ascend to the rank of Eagle Scout. Qualities such as honor, loyalty, courage, cheerfulness and humility are all part of the Scout Law.
Duke is an outstanding distance swimmer at Yosemite High, and after graduating he plans on attending the University of California, Humboldt, majoring in natural resources and film.
Duke is the son of Heather Pincus and Clay Duke, and stepfather Stuart Pincus.