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USMMA Hosts Flag Retirement Ceremony During Boy Scout Camporee

KINGS POINT, N.Y., April 28, 2014 – On Saturday, the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point and Department of Sanitation of the City of New York (DSNY) hosted a U.S. Flag Retirement Ceremony during the 2014 Boy Scout Camporee. The Camporee which was organized by the Kings Point Eagle Scout Association welcomed close to 400 Scouts who spent the weekend learning about the Academy, maritime and military careers, and participating in activities that focused on ethics, leadership, service and patriotism.

On Saturday morning the Scouts assembled in Ackerman auditorium, where they were greeted by Rear Admiral James A. Helis, Superintendent and Midshipman Nick Grippo,1/c, Kings Point Eagle Scout Association President. Then they were introduced to Mr. Ed Shevlin, a veteran Sanitation Worker for the New York City Department of Sanitation.

Shevlin works a collection route on the Rockaway peninsula in Queens, near his home. Following Super Storm Sandy, he worked endless hours helping his community recover. On Flag Day 2013, he noticed two tattered American Flags in the hopper of his truck. Knowing there was a proper way to retire our Flag, he began a campaign and to date has 'rescued ' more than 700 worn American Flags. While volunteering in Rockaway Beach after Super Storm Sandy, midshipmen from USMMA were so impressed by Mr. Shevlin’s cause that they made a commitment to assist him in retiring any flags that he collected.

During the assembly, Shevlin, a former Senior Patrol Leader for Troop 81, told the scouts, “My campaign is really about education. It’s about saving the flags and keeping flags from going into the garbage in the future."  Borrowing the USMMA motto Acta non Verba, he said, “It is about Deeds not Words.  It is one thing to say you are a patriot, but your actions often speak louder than words.” Shevlin then presented the flags to Midshipman Grippo. At the conclusion, DSNY Deputy Commissioner, Vito Turso presented Sanitation worker Shevlin with a commendation from DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia.

On Saturday evening, each scout dedicated a flag to a hero.  The flags were respectfully retired and burned in a solemn ceremony. Rear Admiral James A. Helis said, “The United States Merchant Marine Academy was very proud to support Mr. Shevlin in his effort to properly retire U.S. Flags. His demonstration of patriotism is an example to all Americans.”

Updated: Tuesday, April 29, 2014