What began as a service project became a joyful experience for Cub Scouts and military members.
Earlier this month, eight Cub Scouts from Pack 327 spent five hours at Eppley Airfield. The boys, ages 8 to 11, greeted arriving and departing service personnel at both concourses.
The Scouts thanked 16 military members and gave them each a new 3-by-5-foot U.S. flag.
“It was exciting for the boys,” said Randy Yates, Mid-America Council of Boy Scouts volunteer who works with the pack. Beals Elementary School in Omaha sponsors the pack.
“You just have to have patience,” Yates told the boys. “These people are giving years. It’s easy to give five hours.”
An hour passed before a military member came by.
“After they (the boys) saw that first one, they kept their eyes peeled,” Yates said.
The boys gave flags to members of the Army, Marines and Navy.
“People given the flags were pleased, ” Yates said.
One man said that in his 16 years of traveling for the Navy, this was the first time anyone had given him a present.
“A soldier came through with his mom and dad and two younger sisters helping him carry his pack and things,” said Randy Fellows, a den leader in Pack 327. The mom and sister started crying as two of the Cub Scouts presented the flag and thanked the soldier, he said.
Airport police OK’d the project and gave the Cub Scouts guidelines to follow.
The Scouts, who still have 14 flags, plan another airport giveaway.
Yates got 30 free U.S. flags from Mr. Ed’s Flag Pole Co. in Council Bluffs for the “Flags to Military” service project. He tucked an addressed, stamped thank-you note card inside each folded flag.
“We don’t know where these guys were coming in from or going to. Now I’m kind of excited to see where the thank-you notes come from,” Yates said.