By Cheryl Conway
There are two new eye-catching mailboxes in town but they are not the typical mailbox for dropping in letters or bills.
Residents now have a place to drop off torn or old flags to be properly deposited and disposed. One mailbox is located at Town Hall in Budd Lake and the other was just installed right before Memorial Day just adjacent to the All Veterans Memorial at Turkey Brook Park, also in Budd Lake.
“The purpose of the boxes is to give the residents a place to bring old worn out flags,” explains Council President Joe Nicastro who came up with the idea a year ago. “There is a place at the All Veterans Memorial for properly burning the flag that will be done by the VFW or other organizations.”
Nicastro proposed the idea last year to the township business administrator before the budget hearing and the council approved the project as part of the 2016 budget, he says.
“My wife Mary and I were driving one day and we were out of town,” explains Nicastro. “We saw a mailbox decorated like the flag for a place to deposit old worn flags. I thought why don’t we have these in Mt. Olive?
“As a resident of Mt Olive I have had three old flags that are worn out,” he continues. “I have them folded in my garage for at least eight years. I had no idea where to bring them. Now I do. I can drop them off in the Flag Depositories in town. I have heard similar stories from other residents when told of the boxes.”
The mailboxes were purchased online thru a company.
“They are your typical mailboxes like the post offices use but they are decorated with red, white and blue colors and the town logo,” says Nicastro.
Residents are invited to deposit all types of American flags into the mailboxes, which will be cleaned out regularly and disposed, Nicastro says.
“They will be burned properly and then from what I understand be put into the vault that is at All Veteran memorial,” says Nicastro.
“Today’s flags are made of a lot of different materials and we do not want to see any accidents but more importantly there is a process that should be followed when destroying the American Flag,” Nicastro explains. “The proper way to destroy an old flag [is] to come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection. Then it can be burned and its ashes properly buried.”
The project cost $2,049, very little to taxpayers. Township employees installed the mailboxes and The Graphix Spot in Budd Lake donated the time “to wrap them from plain brown to what you see today.”
Established in 2015, The Graphix Spot is a commercial wide-format printing, graphics and signage company. It specializes in national retail brand print solutions, event graphics and corporate interior signage and décor.
“Although we focus on maintaining our accounts with larger companies and brands we also love working with local small businesses in town,” says owner Matthew McTaggart.
The Graphix Spot recently designed and installed the graphics on the new flag return receptacles.
“It was a great opportunity to show our love for the community and our values in patriotism,” says McTaggart. “We started by designing something clean, classic and legible. Then after printing all of the adhesive wrap materials, we carefully and meticulously applied the graphics onto the new boxes. We donated the design and application for this project.”
Readers can go to www.thegraphixspot.com for more information; call 862-254-2254; or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicastro is thankful for all of the volunteer help and donations.
“I want to give a special thanks to Jim Lynch and John Geiger for all their help in getting these installed,” says Nicastro. “Also Laura Harris our Business Administrator who found the boxes and put everything in motion.”
He is also happy that he offered a contribution to the township.
“I know in the scheme of things this is a minor project,” says Nicastro. “I am happy to have been part of this effort in giving residents the ability to dispose the American Flag in a proper way. I was brought up to respect the flag from when you hang it to when you dispose of it.
For questions, contact Mt. Olive Twp. Business Administrator Laura Harris at 973-691-0900.