Aunyae Johnson helps flag retirement for Girl Scouts’ Gold Award

MADISON – With a spirit of patriotism, Aunyae Johnson earned the Gold Award in Girl Scouts with a project that respects military personnel, especially her parents.

“In my project, I created three boxes (from newspaper racks) to put at Madison fire stations to collect flags. This project means a lot to me because there’s no established place for the people of Madison to take their flags to retire when they become unserviceable,” Johnson said.

Johnson coordinated with Madison American Legion to retrieve flags and schedule retirement ceremonies. She also created a how-to video that Girls Scouts everywhere can view to learn about flag retirement.

“I was motivated to work on this project because (my) parents retired from the military. I know sacrifices that men and women endure for their country and the U.S. flag,” Johnson said.

In Troop 926, Johnson’s Troop Leaders are Jean Downs and Andrea Johnson. Individuals who assisted with Johnson’s project are Finley, Mary, Olivia, McKenna, Bianca, Kassidy and her Troop Leaders.

Outside her troop, Johnson received help from David Bailey, Madison Fire Chief; David Glassman, Operations/Logistics Officer, Madison Fire and Rescue Department; and Larry Vannoy, American Legion, Post 229 Commander.

Johnson’s project required 133.50 hours: planning, 16 hours; shopping, 1.5 hours; implementation, 108-plus hours; and practice and videoing, 8 hours.

Project supplies included three newspaper racks; red, white and blue paint; vinyl; American legion sticker emblem; video camera and tripod; burn pit or barrels; lighter fluid, matches and wood; and flags to burn.

First, she cleaned and primed the boxes and taped off sections for painting. She applied vinyl and stickers. “I also took the individual videos and merged them together to make a movie by adding in music and voiceovers,” Johnson said.

Johnson said her project will benefit people who can gain knowledge on proper retirement of flags. The boxes will increase convenience for flag owners who can’t conduct a flag retirement ceremony. “They can drop it off at the fire station and still know that their flag is being properly retired,” she said.

A junior at James Clemens High School, Johnson has earned numerous Girl Scouts awards, including Presidential Volunteer Service Award in silver, gold and bronze and the Bronze, Silver and now the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts.

At James Clemens, Johnson enjoys participating in Color Guard. She likes to draw and spend time with her family.

She plans to attend the University of Alabama in Huntsville and study to be a labor-and-delivery nurse.

Her parents are Ray Johnson, retired from U.S. Army with 29 years of service and currently a Senior Logistic Analyst, and Andrea Johnson, retired from U.S. Army with 21 years of service and currently working as a paralegal.

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