Grove City residents soon will have a way to make sure their old and worn American flags will be disposed of with proper dignity.

CORRECTION: The print and earlier online version of this story gave an incorrect troop number for Mason Stewart, who is a member of Boy Scout Troop 412.

Grove City residents soon will have a way to make sure their old and worn American flags will be disposed of with proper dignity.

Mason Stewart, a member of Boy Scout Troop 412, will be creating flag retirement boxes as his Eagle Scout project.

The Brookpark Middle School eighth-grader said he came up with the idea for the project when he was in fourth grade and was a Cub Scout.

"Friends and family members have given me flags and asked what was the proper way to dispose of them," he said.

Since Scout troops often accept flags and hold ceremonies for their proper retirement, "making flag-retirement boxes just seemed like it would be a good project," Mason said. "It would give us an easy way to collect flags for our ceremonies."

At first, the idea struck him as a good way to someday earn his Eagle Scout recognition, he said.

"As I've gotten older, I've begun to appreciate more what the flag means and how important it is to retire it in the right way," Mason, 13, said. "You shouldn't just throw away a flag."

The federal flag code has specific rules for how a flag should be retired, he said.

"You have to take the flag and fold it up and place it in a fire to burn the flag," Mason said. "As it's burning, you salute the flag."

Once the flag has been incinerated, the ashes are buried, he said.

Mason's concept was approved as an Eagle Scout project last month by the Boy Scouts of America Simon Kenton Council, which serves a 17-county area in central and southern Ohio and Greenup County in northern Kentucky.

More than four years after he first conceived of the project, "it's nice to get to the point of actually getting to do the project, and not just think about doing it," Mason said.

His goal is to have the boxes in place around town by late summer or in the fall, he said.

His plan is to use Elephantrunk boxes -- a brand name for containers designed for parcel drops at residences.

"I wanted something that was made out of metal, and I originally thought about trying to use postal-service mail boxes," Mason said.

The U.S. Postal Service indicated reluctance to have its old mailboxes used for the flag-retirement project because of a concern that people might mistakenly place mail in the containers, said Craig Stewart, Mason's father.

He has written a letter asking the California-based company that manufactures the parcel boxes if they would be willing to donate containers for his project, Mason said.

If the company does not donate, he will need to raise funds to purchase them, he said.

Mason said he plans to decorate and paint the boxes with the colors of the American flag and have a clear identification on the containers about their purpose.

After contacting officials from the city of Grove City and Pleasant Township, Mason said he plans to place boxes at Grove City Hall, 4035 Broadway; the parks and recreation office at the Kingston Center, 3226 Kingston Ave.; and at the township's fire station 231, 5373 Norton Road

"I wanted to put the boxes at different locations so it would be convenient and easy for people to drop off their flags," he said.

A fourth box could be placed at a major store in Grove City, pending approval from the company, Mason said.

"It would be a good place for a retirement box because a lot of people buy American flags from the store," he said. "They could drop off their old flags when they come in to buy a new one."

Many Eagle Scout projects are suggestions received from community members or local officials, said Kelly Stewart, Mason's mother.

"I'm really proud that he came up with this idea on his own," she said. "It's nice to see he cares about the American flag this much and wants to make sure they are disposed of in the proper way."

Scouting is just one of Mason's activities. He plays football and runs track, is a member of Brookpark's National Honor Society and the Order of the Arrow, scouting's honor society.

Mason also volunteers at the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and the Colony Cats animal shelter.

But scouting may be his favorite activity.

"I love all of it," Mason said. "I don't think there's any part of scouting that I haven't enjoyed."

His Eagle Scout project will add satisfaction to the joy, he said.