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Poland residents prepare to retire flags

October 27, 2011
By Melissa Mary Smith
Residents at Poland Shepherd of the Valley have been readying tattered and faded American flags submitted by the public for a flag retirement ceremony.

The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 30 at Poland Shepherd of the Valley. It is an effort to retire worn American flags by burning them in a vessel, designed by Shepherd of the Valley resident Ray Braidich.

It was Braidich’s enthusiasm that inspired Poland Shepherd of the Valley admission representative Elida Cowles to organize the event.

“He was really passionate about how flags are retired,” Cowles said.

Over the past 10 years, Braidich designed the “Braidich Burner,” a tank fueled by propane and made specifically for the purpose of disposing flags in need of retirement.

The first device has been manufactured by CMI Industry Americas of Salem, and will be used during the ceremony.

In order to have flags for the ceremony, Cowles printed an advertisement in September asking the community to donate their unused and worn American flags to be properly retired. Cowles said that the response has been happily overwhelming and more than 200 flags have been collected thus far.

While the flag collection was scheduled last month, residents have been taking an active role in preparing the flags for the ceremony.

“I’m happy to dispose of these properly,” resident Dolores Valentini said.

Valentini, Irene Dent, Viola Mackey and Norma Hovanes have sorted through numerous donated American flags, separating the cotton flags from the nylon flags and removing them from poles.

Cowles said that the event will be held on the front lawn of the facility. It will include a welcoming, music, Poland Troop 2 Boy Scouts honoring the flags and the flags receiving a dignified retirement.

“The ceremony is open to the public and there will be a small reception afterwards,” Cowles said.

For more information relating to the flag retirement ceremony, contact Cowles at 330-726-7110 ext. 2318.

Article Photos

Photo by Melissa Mary Smith, Town Crier correspondent
Shepherd of the Valley residents Irene Dent, Dolores Valentini, Viola Mackey and Norma Hovanes handle worn American flags as they prepare for a flag retirement ceremony on Oct. 30.



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