Eagle Scout project gives flags a fitting retirement

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 May 2019 at 7:50 am

New fire pit at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Albion is available to community

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – A new masonry fire pit at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Albion was used for its first flag retirement ceremony on Wednesday evening. The fire pit was Harrison Brown’s Eagle Scout project.

The top photo shows Boy Scout Sawyer Braley, left, and Air Force veteran Justin Niederhofer presenting a flag to be retired. About 20 flags were retired during the ceremony. Niederhofer also is Harrison’s neighbor in Carlton.

Harrison Brown salutes while a flag is retired.

Harrison, 18, is a member of Troop 164 in Albion, which is sponsored by Holy Family Parish, the owner of the cemetery on Route 31.

The troop typically takes retired flags to Camp Dittmer, a Boy Scout camp in Phelps, Ontario County.

Other local troops use barrels for the fire to retire flags.

“We wanted a better way to memorialize the flags,” Brown said.

Harrison Brown and his mother, Margy, retire a flag. Harrison saw a similar fire pit on the reality television show, “Are You Tougher Than A Boy Scout?”

He led a group of Scouts in constructing the fire pit, which is on the east side of the cemetery. Most of the work happened last summer. Jim Babcock, a local contractor, helped the Scouts cut stone and build the fire pit. It includes a concrete base, and two stone sections – one for the fire pit and a chamber for the propane tank, with a fire wall separating the two sections.

Orleans Construction donated concrete for the base, Lakeshore Property Management gave topsoil for the site, and Ian McNabb of John Welch Enterprises in Rochester provided the engineering services in designing the fire pit. Contracts Unlimited in Lockport made the cover.

Brad Shelp and Boy Scout Ethan Merrill present a flag in the fire pit. The fire pit is available to any Scout or veteran’s organization in the community. To reserve the fire pit, call the Holy Family Parish office at (585) 589-4243 or contact a member of Troop 164.

Harrison Brown speaks during the flag retirement ceremony. His Court of Honor ceremony is June 15 for when he officially becomes an Eagle Scout.

He is planning to attend Cornell University this fall to major in agricultural sciences. He also will be in the Army ROTC.

Eric Brown, assistant Scoutmaster and Harrison’s father, salutes during the flag retirement ceremony.

Ben Hickman, left, and Sawyer Braley present the first flag to retired during Wednesday’s ceremony. Harrison Brown said ashes from the flags will likely be kept in jars from each retirement ceremony.

Vietnam War veteran Bob Wells watches one of the flags be retired.

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