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Old U.S. Flags Turned Into Special Keepsakes For Military & First Responders

By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) - Kids these days have a lot of crazy ideas about how to keep busy during the summer. While some might hit the pool, there is a group of girls in a basement in Thornton cutting up the American flag.

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"We do this throughout the year, like once or twice a month" said Kaitlyn Duncan, a cadet in Girl Scout Troop 3979.

They're taking flags collected by Adams County that are no longer suitable for flying and turning them into something inspirational.

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"We're working on bagging and also cutting the stars out to send to fallen heroes and also to hand out around the community to first responders," said Isabella Lucero, another girl scout.

"We process them with a little note that says, 'I am part of our American flag. I can no longer fly. Please carry me as a reminder that you are not forgotten,'" said Carol Lucero, Isabella's mother.

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The idea came to Carol and her daughter two years ago when they found a star on their windshield. Carol is a retired police officer and recognized that such a small gesture could mean the world to people in uniform going through a tough time.

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"Knowing what those families go through and the pain that departments go through when a hero is killed in the line of duty… you know this is really the least that we can do," she said.

Since then, the girl scouts have sent out 30,000 stars to agencies and families around the nation. Usually it's a thankless job, but every once in a while they get a letter back from the family of a fallen officer that touches their heart, and makes all their hard work worthwhile.

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"Those are hard, but then it's encouraging too that we are doing good work and we need to keep it up," Carol said.

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After the stars are removed, the girl scouts dispose of the remainder of the flag according to U.S. flag code. They say that even though they've already sent out a lot of stars, they will continue to make them as long as there is a need.

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.

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