Quincy Navy veteran installs drop box for old, worn flags

Before the transformation, this is what the mailbox looked like.

Many homes and businesses fly the American flag to honor our country.

But often, they don't know what to do with Old Glory when the flag is ripped and tattered.

Bill Townsend made it his goal to solve that problem.

When the stars and stripes fly, it reminds Townsend of the sacrifice he and many others made for our country.

"Real heroes don't wear capes, they wear dog tags," said Townsend.

Townsend is a Commander for The American Legion Post 37 in Quincy.

He and other members perform flag disposal ceremonies around twice a year.

Townsend said he'd often find flags dropped off outside of the legion.

"I don't think a lot of people know what do with their flags," Townsend said. "It's hard to say how many are just put in the trash can or whatever."

Seeing a need for a proper place for the flags to be dropped off, Townsend decided to do something about it.

After making a trip with his wife to Little Rock, Arkansas, Townsend secured an old 1970s mail box from his friend, Dexter McKay.

He then brought it back to Quincy where it was painted by Shawn Williams from Unlimited Paint and Body.

Flags can now sit safely, free from exposure of the elements, and await the disposal ceremony, which lets the legion honor the stars and stripes one last time.

"Most generally what we do is we do the pledge of allegiance, because we honor our flag, that's one thing that we, all the veterans fought for," said Townsend. "And then they're properly disposed of by being burnt, or incinerated and we do that ceremony for all the flags that we cannot use anymore."

Townsend thinks providing this service for the community is another way he can show pride for his country.

"It's just an honor to see the red, white and blue flying up in the air," Townsend said.

The American Legion flag dropbox in Quincy is located north of the legion, which is located at 116 North 8th Street.