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Boy Scout Partners with Covanta, American Legion to Retire U.S. Flags

Old and worn American flags can now be retired in a proper way thanks to a local Boy Scout, Covanta Montgomery and American Legion Post 86.

While many veteran organizations have flag collection programs in place, the quantity of flags they receive can be overwhelming. When researching options for his Eagle Scout service project, Christopher Begines recognized this burden and decided to do something about it.

Working with Maryland-based American Legion Post 86 and with the assistance of Boy Scout Troop 447 and Troop 1450 as well as members of the community, Begines collected approximately 500 flags in need of proper retirement.

With this success, however, Begines also recognized that properly retiring these flags in accordance with United States Code presented a real challenge. Open burning of flags made of synthetic materials would give off noxious fumes and the large firepits required could pose a fire hazard. That’s when he discovered Covanta Montgomery, Md., the operator of the Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility, a facility that thermally treats waste to generate electricity. 

“At Covanta, we hold our veterans in the highest regard, so we were honored to help Christopher with his project and ease the burden on our local veterans to reverently retire the large amount of U.S. flags they receive,” said Randy Bayer, operations manager at Covanta Montgomery, in a statement. “Congratulations to Christopher for all his hard work in providing this important and patriotic service to his community.”

At a ceremony held on July 28 at the Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility, Begines and other Scouts retired more than 500 flags collected by the project with the assistance of Covanta. The ceremony honored members of the American Armed Forces, police and firefighters from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five inhabited U.S. territories who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting their fellow Americans. The ceremony was attended by representatives of Boy Scouts Troop 447 and area veteran groups.

“I am so grateful to the many individuals who devoted their time to this very special project,” said Begines in a statement. “Everyone should be very proud of what we did together.”

Covanta Montgomery supplies sustainable waste management services to the residents of Montgomery County. The energy-from-waste facility processes approximately 1,800 tons of municipal solid waste per day to generate more than 60 megawatts of electricity—enough to power 45,000 homes.

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