HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) — It started as an Eagle Scout project. Now with the help of the Hilton Head Fire Department, a flag drop-off box has become a big success.

Fire Rescue receives many flags dropped off at Headquarters and Stations for proper disposal.

Many people don’t know, you are not supposed to throw away a flag or even burn it yourself. Instead, the flags are collected, and a flag retirement ceremony is held each year on Flag Day.

The ceremony includes Fire Rescue, the Boy Scouts and the American Legion.

Eagle Scout candidate Peter Rougeux was trying to find a way to complete his Eagle Scout community service project, and to make sure the flags got their proper burial.

So his plan was to install flag drop boxes for those older and tattered American Flags that needed to be retired correctly.

“When I first started talking about it to my neighbors they said ‘oh thank God I have bags and bags of old flags I have to get rid of,’ so I definitely saw it being a success,” said Peter Rougeux.

Since they were installed in April, the flag boxes have been emptied every week, and firefighters say they have been filled each and every time.

“We were getting them dropped off and this really was a good way for the community to be able to dispose of them in the proper manner,” said Hilton Head Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Joheida Fister.

Eagle Scouts must spend at least six months in Boy Scouts, earn at least 21 merit badges, and complete a community-focused project that requires leadership and organizational skills. Only a small percentage of scouts achieve the coveted Eagle Scout rank.

Peter was one of those scouts.

“It was great to work with Peter to accomplish this goal to help him achieve the Eagle Scout rank. Peter participated in the flag retirement ceremonies held at the Fire Rescue Training Center, so this project was a perfect match,” said Deputy Chief Fister.

The drop boxes are located at three locations,
• Fire Rescue Head Quarters # 40 Summit Drive (Mid Island)
• Behind Fire Station # 1 off Executive Park Drive (Off Pope Avenue – South End)
• Fire Station # 5 – # 20 Whooping Crane Way @ Front Gate of HH Plantation 9 North End)