Collecting Old Glory

Wintersville Woman’s Club has specially made containers placed as part of military project

OLD FLAGS, PLEASE — The OFWC/Wintersville Woman’s Club has launched a collection campaign for old U.S. flags in need of proper disposal, using the stars from them for an ongoing project that honors veterans and active duty service personnel. Special containers made by Wayne Hackathorne were put in place earlier this week, including one at the Schiappa Branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County where on hand were, from left, Pat Daily, a member of the club’s public issues committee; Alan Hall, library director; Hackathorne; Mary Beth Allan, club president; and Ruth Carson, public issues committee chairman. A container also has been placed at the Wintersville Post Office. -- Janice Kiaski

WINTERSVILLE — A local service organization is on a collection campaign for old U.S. flags in need of proper disposal.

And two patriotic red, white and blue hand-crafted containers placed recently in high foot-traffic areas are hoped to facilitate that effort.

The OFWC/Wintersville Woman’s Club partnered with local woodworking enthusiast Wayne Hackathorne of Wintersville to place two decorative wooden containers in which the public can leave their worn flags.

One container is in the lobby area of the Schiappa branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County at 4141 Mall Drive, Steubenville. The other is in the lobby of the Wintersville Post Office at 210 Luray Drive, Wintersville.

Both found their new homes on Tuesday.

Ruth Carson, chairman of the club’s public issues committee, explained the collection has a two-fold purpose. The worn flags not only will be properly disposed of, ultimately through a local Legion post, but first the stars from them will be removed and used in a gesture that honors veterans and active duty service personnel.

“The stars from old flags we’ve used to make packets for the veterans,” Carson said of what’s been a practice of the club for about two years. The stars became part of a small package that contains a little paper star with Wintersville Woman’s Club printed on it. There also is a message that reads: “I am part of our American Flag. I once flew over American land of the free because of the brave. I can no longer fly. The sun and wind have caused me to become tattered and torn. I was rescued from the fire. Please carry me as a reminder that you are not forgotten. Grateful American Patriot.”

About 200 packets have been made and distributed to date.

Carson said the stars from the flags left in the containers will continue to be used for that project which will be expanded to honor active duty service personnel in addition to veterans. Those packets will include a printed prayer.

While the idea for the packets came from the woman’s club conference level, the move to have the flag containers made and placed locally was that of club President Mary Beth Allan, who approached Hackathorne for his creative woodworking expertise.

“She asked if I could come up with something to dispose of flags properly, so I came up with that idea and tried to make it colorful enough that you could set it in a corner and not walk by it and not see it,” Hackathorne explained.

A longtime woodworker, Hackathorne said it took about a month to make and paint the containers, each about 16-by-16-by-31 inches high.

Nelson’s Fine Art and Gifts made the sign on the front of the container. It reads:

“Place Old Glory Here — Home of the Free because of the Brave.”

“They’re beautiful — they exceeded my expectations,” Allan said. “Wayne does wonderful work.”

“It was an honor to do it,” he added.

(Kiaski can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline-com.)