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Eagle Scout candidate collects flags

Brad Swartz is asking local residents to drop off their flags at one of two sites.

Brad Swartz was a little fed up with all the American flags that were in poor shape around New Richmond.

So when it came time to decide on a community project for Swartz to complete for his Eagle Scout rank, improving the quality of area flags seemed the perfect plan.

"I kept seeing all the ratty flags around town and I just kept commenting on it," he said.

That's when his dad told him to do something about it.

"It kind of took off from there," Swartz said.

Swartz, in conjunction with American Legion Post #80 and VFW Post #10818 of New Richmond, is planning a flag retirement ceremony at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, at the Legion.

"I hope collecting and retiring flags will help spur patriotism in our community," he said. "I've always considered myself a patriot. With this collection, I believe the community will look better and be better presented toward tourists."

Swartz said he learned a lot about the appropriate care of the American flag during his scouting career.

In the summer of 2005, Swartz worked at a Boy Scout camp for the summer and returned with even more respect for our nation's flag.

Swartz said he encourages area residents to place flags that are faded, ripped or in generally poor condition into the flag receptacles in the New Richmond Civic Center parking lot or at the American Legion hall.

The flags will then be appropriately retired by burning.

"The ceremony will be done in accordance with military standards," Swartz said.

Girl Scout, Boy Scout and Cub Scout members will be on hand for the special ceremony. The public is also invited to attend.

The flag project is one of the final steps before Swartz obtains his Eagle Scout ranking.

"The Eagle rank is the highest rank a Scout can achieve," he said.

A member of local Boy Scout Troop 460, Swartz has been in scouting since he was 5 years old. It's been a goal of his to attain Eagle Scout status since the beginning.

"I really look forward to getting it all done," Swartz said. "Being an Eagle Scout is supposed to help me throughout my life."

During his Boy Scout years, Swartz has attained 21 merit badges and accomplished many other milestones on his way up the rank ladder.

Each Eagle Scout candidate must complete a project where they can better the community and prove their leadership skills before attaining the top rank.