On holidays such as Memorial Day, you won’t find the boys of Scout Troop 473 sleeping in. They are up at sunrise, unfurling flags to be placed in the front yards of subscribers in the Moss Haven Elementary and White Rock Elementary neighborhoods. This fund-raising service started four years ago, when parents of troop members realized that such a patriotic service would teach the youngsters far more than simply selling fertilizers or garbage bags door-to-door.

Recalls Scout mom Claire Marlin: “Lots of the kids were already selling things for choir or for band. We thought it should be a different experience for scouting.”

The flag service was chosen as a fund-raiser in the spirit of the Scout Law, one that would beautify the neighborhood and teach respect for the holiday.

Troop leaders spent all available funds purchasing the 3-by-5-foot flags and supplies to make the 8-foot poles supported by rebar stakes. Their gamble paid off. Neighbors signed up in healthy numbers, with many becoming “regulars” after trying the service once.

The flags are delivered and placed in yards by 8 a.m. and are taken down at dusk on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day. The service is $29.95 annually (pro-rated for those who sign up late, missing some holidays).

“Each year, it gets better and better,” Marlin says. “We’re about maxed out on flags. But if we get more subscribers, we’ll find a way to get more flags.”

With no overhead, all the money from the fund-raiser goes directly to supporting troop activities. In addition to being a success as a fund-raiser, the service has succeeded in its other goals.

Scout Russell Thompson, a sophomore at Lake Highlands High School, says he has learned the protocol for displaying the flag.

“It’s a nice fund-raiser because it’s a service,” he says.

And neighborhood streets achieve a special look for these holidays.

“It looks neat to see a street that had good participation,” Marlin says. “All the flags waving in the air are wonderful to see.”

For more information about Troop 473’s flag service, call 214-348-9117.