If you happen to drive down Edward Collins’ street on certain holidays, you might think he has an incredibly patriotic neighborhood. All 17 houses on the street have an American flag in the yard.

 

          How do we know none of the neighbors will become too tired, busy or forgetful to put out their flag?

 

Because they’re not the ones putting them out. Local Boy Scouts are.

 

          Collins bought a yearlong flag service for himself and all his neighbors from the Scouts of Troop 473. The service provides flags on five holidays, setting up the poles early in the morning and removing them at sundown.

 

          Collins says he bought the service for two simple reasons: He knew it would look good and, knowing all 16 of his neighbors, he knew they would like it.

 

“I decided it would look nice if it was on the whole street,” he says. “We have great neighbors. We’re just all good Americans down through here.”

 

He kept what he’d done a secret until the first holiday rolled around, when he and his neighbors woke to what he calls a beautiful sight.

 

“I was awed,” he says of the view. “It just looked fabulous. You turned down our street, and all you see are these American flags waving.”

 

Wes Parma, who lives on Collins’ street, agrees.

 

“It was very impressive,” he says. “We thought it was great. It was a real surprise to all of us, and a very nice gesture of patriotism.”

 

But the gesture didn’t just make the street look nice. It also helped local Boy Scouts.

 

“This is our one fund-raiser, our primary source of revenue for troop activities,” says Scoutmaster Gib Blackman, whose son Forrest is a Life Scout.

 

“It subsidizes our summer camp program, bringing down the price for each boy to go to camp for one week. It’s also used for troop equipment and overall expenses.”

 

Blackman says the troop has 50 Scouts, all of whom are required to take their turn delivering flags to more than 200 Lake Highlands families.

 

“Every Scout puts up flags two times a year,” he says. “We need them all to participate. When you put up 240 flags, it’s a good bit of work.”

 

But, Blackman says, it’s also a good kind of work. “I love this service. It’s fun. And it’s a tradition for our troop.”