Blythe Boy Scout helps honor unserviceable U.S. flags: Community drop-off boxes now available

On Jan. 11, with local Frank Luke American Legion Post 24 (137 N. Ash Ave.) veterans and leadership in attendance, 14-year-old Boy Scout Michael Manriquez installed a patriotic-themed drop-off box for community members to use whenever a U.S. flag becomes unserviceable. (Photo by Uriel Avendano/Palo Verde Valley Times)

Ever wonder how to honorably and appropriately dispose of tattered and unserviceable U.S. flags?

One Blythe Boy Scout, of Troop 429, took it upon himself to ensure locals have two ready and patriotic avenues available to turn in U.S. flags that are no longer in viable condition.

“One day, I was thinking about what my (Eagle Scout) project should be. So I went on YouTube for some ideas and saw a kid about the same age as me make a project exactly like this, but just with a different box. Same idea, to properly dispose flags – So I was like, you know what, I don’t really see places for my city of Blythe to dispose of flags. So I thought maybe I should do this project for my city,” said 14-year-old local Michael Manriquez, whose project is in pursuit of earning an Eagle Scout patch. “I had my friends – who are all in Scouts too – Aiden, Preston, and Nick help me paint.”

At the Frank Luke American Legion Post 24 (137 N. Ash Ave.), the flag drop-off box is decorated with stars and stripes, and placed prominently right next to the veterans organization’s mail box up front.

The second flag drop-off box is also located at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2987 (148 N. 1st St.) entrance.

“This took probably around two hours and 20 minutes (to paint),” said Manriquez, who notes the leadership role of being in charge of a project as also providing valuable lessons learned. “Honestly – just how to communicate with people. I never really knew how to, like, communicate with people or give directions. But this kinda taught me how to do it.”

Notably, in years’ past, the local American Legion Post 24 has served as the site for late Blythe combat war hero and U.S. Army Sgt. Norman Taylor III’s Annual Flag Retirement Ceremony as presented by the local Palo Verde High School (PVHS) JROTC cadets.

“Advice (for future Scouts)? I would tell them: don’t be scared – Because I was. I was very, like, scared to do it because I didn’t know if it was going to work. Or if I would be able to explain it well enough for us to do it. I would just say: plan it, take your time, and think about it really hard. Don’t stress yourself,” said Manriquez. “I really do hope (people) use it. I really do hope it stays here and maybe once I grow up I can show my grandkids or something – I made that. (...) I would like to say thank you to my parents (German and Gina Manriquez), they really did help me a lot with this, taking me out of town to get all my badges and all that. Really want to give a huge shoutout to them.”

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