Submitted by: LTC (R) Timothy P. Norman
The Paragould JROTC program does a flag collection and disposal program for our community service. The cadets go out in the community and collect the flags and also to all the veteran organizations. This year we built a new fire pit beside our building just for this event. Once we have collected the flags, we go through them and fold them and the ones that have one-inch stars we cut the fields off to collect the stars. The cadets will cut out the stars and place them in a small baggie with a piece of paper that says: “I am part of our American flag that has flown over the USA. I can no longer fly. The sun and winds caused me to become tattered and torn. Please carry me as a reminder that –YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN! PHS JROTC” These are handed out by the cadets on veterans’ day and given to the veteran’s organizations.
This year we added to our program. The American Legion contacted us, and the cadets folded 250 American flags and placed them in a triangular flag box. They were taking them to the nursing homes to give to their veterans. We have adopted 4 of the nursing homes and have taken the cadets out to present the flags. This is continuing throughout the holidays going back to visit and giving their veteran a Christmas card as well as, play bingo with the elderly. The cadets are eager and constantly asking to go back. Each veteran has 2 cadets that adopt them, and the cadets can only adopt one. We take any cadet that wants to go, and they just mix and mingle with the other residents.
This year we disposed of 1,875 American flags, adopted 36 veterans in nursing homes, used 72 cadets to adopt a veteran, and used additional 20 (plus the others that has adopted at another home) cadets to visit with the other residents.