American Flag Vending Machine

American Flag Vending Machine

Currently I am working on that I’m looking for advice, and guidance on. I’m in a bit of jam and would greatly appreciate anyone interested in helping or have ideas please feel free to share.

In 2017 I started a volunteer group called Preserving Newbury, and last year we started a Community Flag Retirement Box which is located at the Byfield Fire Department. The high volume of flags the box continues to collects got me thinking – where are people replacing their flags? Why can’t they do it right here at the same time when they retire their flag? (FYI – several thousand flags have been connected at this location since 2016).

I tossed around this thought to a few people and then the idea came up of taking an old newspaper vending machine and converting into selling American Flags. So I reached out to the Daily News of Newburyport and explained to them the idea and within a few weeks they had an old newspaper box for the project.

Currently there is a bit of a learning curve that I am stuck on, and I’m hoping I can reach and connect with the right people to help and assist. These newspaper box were meant to accept change – I need to be able to have the ability to take payments larger then a few dollars and still have the ability to unlock the box. I have a few ideas on what a “P.O.S – Point of Sale” could look like for the box, but it’s beyond my knowledge on how to make it work. If someone is interested in helping with this piece please let me know. There are some people who I’ve been suggested to connect with and am working on connecting with them, but I feel the more people working on this the better the suggest.

In regards to where this vending machine will be placed, I have spoken with the Newbury Fire Chief about placing it next to the flag retirement box at Byfield Fire. He will be bringing the discussion before the board at the department for a vote and discussion. However, I would like to have and see more then one those out in the community in highly visible and trafficked locations. I’ve been eyeing possible locations Newburyport, Amesbury, and Haverhill while I have been out driving around.

With regards to the flags, the cost, and the profits. I have been talking with the flag company I use to purchase the grave marker flags that go out for Memorial Day. What I am going for is American Flags that are full size (4’ x 6’ or 5’ x 8’), embroidered, and packaged individually in boxes (which will allow them to be stacked in the vending machine respectfully. Yes, all the flags will be Made in America – just like the flags we place at the veteran graves in Newbury. We are currently looking at purchasing our American flags from MassCOR – the flags would be made here, in Massachusetts through a rehabilitation program offered by the Department of Corrections.

My goal is to keep the cost of the flags around the same price you would pay for them at the store. So it’s fair and reasonable. All proceeds from the sales of the flags would go and support the care of veteran graves. Which would only need to cover the cost of supplies as the work itself would be done by volunteers. Who have been properly taught and trained by the guidelines Preserving Newbury was taught from Historic Gravestone Services.

I am currently looking to partner up with a veteran organization (501c3) on this project and I have already started talking with a organization about this project. I feel this vending will be a great way to honor our veteran’s and our flag. The flag they once protected, now protects them and cares for them as they once cared for the flag. Each vending machine would be in honor and memory of a veteran killed in action.

If you are interested in helping make this vending machine, or you have ideas you would like to share pertaining to the vending machine please feel free to contact me via email – donnie@preservingnewbury.com

Santa Visits, Veterans Wreaths, and a Christmas Party at a Celtics Game. December 2017

Community Santa Home Visits in Newburyport and area Selective Dates in December (1 – 24)

Don’t miss the opportunity for your child to have Santa, Mrs. Claus or one of Santa’s Elves stop by for a home visit. Santa will be taking time out of his busy schedule to visit good children in the Greater Newburyport Area. The visitors from the North Pole will arrives with gifts, take some Santa Selfies and photographs, and listen to the children’s wish lists. The Santa Home Visits program has been running for three years in the Newburyport and surrounding area. Another similar Santa gift giving group in the area is Ozzie’s Kids in Haverhill who delivers more than 600 gifts each year to Haverhill’s residents. Visit http://www.CommunitySanta.org and Message Santa’s Elves to schedule your special visit

Newbury Wreath Laying Ceremony — Saturday, December 16 at 11 am

Remember. Honor. Teach. On Saturday, December 16th at 11 am, we are seeking volunteers to place wreaths on Veteran gravestones at seven Newbury Burial Grounds and Cemeteries. To volunteer in the wreath laying ceremony, help place the wreaths in the cemeteries, or other volunteer needs leading up Wreath Day please contact us at newburywreaths@gmail.com.

Boston Celtics Acknowledge Vietnam Veterans on December 23.

This year, the Boston Celtics are hosting a special event celebrating the heroism and acknowledging the service of more than two dozen Vietnam Veterans. Nominate your favorite Vietnam Veteran (can self-nominate or a loved one can nominate) to be entered into a lottery to win one of sixteen tickets. The featured game is on Saturday December 23 at the TD Garden with the Boston Celtics taking on the Chicago Bulls. Requests can be submitted via email to Don Jarvis at jarvis.don@gmail.com or to Andrew LaCourse at andrew.lacourse@comcast.net.

Wreath project stretches to 3rd year…

For the third year in a row Preserving Newbury will be hosting Wreaths Across America in Newbury Massachusetts. Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2007 to continue to expand their annual wreath-laying ceremony which started at Arlington National Cemetery and now stretches to cemeteries all around the country. This program was started by a Maine businessman, Morrill Worcester. Wreaths Across America was able to provide every headstone at Arlington National Cemetery a wreath for the first time in 2014 – 227,000 in total. This year Preserving Newbury’s goal is to provide a wreath for every Veteran grave within the town’s limit – 600 in total.

Preserving Newbury understand that we have Veterans’ Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring. However, our service members sacrifice their time and safety every single day of the year to preserve our freedom. In many homes across the United States there sits an empty seat for a loved one who is serving, or a loved one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. This is why our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach. This mission last all year round – not just for a single day. Throughout the year, Preserving Newbury works numerous ways to show our veterans and their families that they are never forgotten. 
When a volunteer places a wreath on a veteran’s grave we encourage them to speak that Veterans’s name aloud, and thank them for their service and sacrifice. In Newbury we have veterans who have served in just about every war and conflict that the United States has been part of – from American Revolutionary War – to the current conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
Stretched amongst 7 burying grounds and cemeteries there are 600 veterans and one resting place of an unknown civil war solider. With Newbury being founded in 1635 some of these veterans served and played a critical role in the American Revolutionary War and the founding of our country. It would serve as a great honor to place a wreath at every veteran headstone within Newbury. If we go over our goal the remaining wreaths will be placed at veteran graves in surrounding communities. 

Town should adopt tax break program for veterans

Earlier this year, I proposed to the Newbury selectmen that they should consider adopting a program to help veterans who own property in town. 
Now, I have a question for the residents of Newbury: Would you be in favor of the town of Newbury adopting M.G.L. Chapter 59 Section 5N — “Reduction of property tax obligation of veteran in exchange for volunteer services”?

By adopting this Mass. General Law, Newbury can establish a program to allow veterans, or a spouse of a veteran in the case where the veteran is deceased or has a service-connected disability, to volunteer to provide services to the town.

Now, in exchange for their volunteer services, the town will reduce the property tax obligations of the veteran. This reduction will be in addition to any exemption or abatement of which otherwise they are entitled to.

The veteran (or spouse) cannot be credited more than the current minimum wage of the state’s minimum wage per hour rate. The reduction of the property tax bill may not exceed $1,000 in a given tax year.

The town would have the power to create local rules and procedures for implementing this program in a way that is consistent with the intent of this program if they choose to adopt this program. It is important to note that adopting this program cannot cause a reduction of workforce or replace existing staff and or positions.

The amount of money reduced of the veteran’s property tax is not considered income, wages or employment. While they volunteer for the town, the veteran will be considered a public employee for the purposes of Chapter 258 and their services will be considered employment for the purposes of unemployment insurance as provided in Chapter 151A.

The selectmen by vote may change the exemption in this program by: (i) allowing a representative for the veterans who are physically unable to provide services to the town; or (ii) allowing the maximum reduction of the property tax bill be based on 125 volunteer hours in a tax year, rather than the $1,000 maximum reduction.

Would you be in favor of Newbury adopting this program? We already have one similar to this for senior citizens in town and some of our surrounding communities have already adopted it.

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Newbury’s Special Town Meeting, there will be a vote on whether the town should adopt this or not. I personally think the town should; it would be a great way for the town to show their appreciation and support for veterans.

Thank you all for your consideration on adopting this program in the town of Newbury. This is a small gesture to our veterans in town.

Volunteerism: A Viable Resource for Newbury

Tonight I went before the Newbury Board of Selectmen to ask them to consider adopting Mass General Law – Chapter 59 Section 5N ‘Reduction of Property Tax Obligation of Veteran in Exchange for Volunteer Services’. For the town to adopt this section it will need to go before Town Meeting for vote. I did ask the Board of Selectmen to consider moving forward and encouraged them to form a ‘work group’ with various stakeholders including myself.

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Memorial Day 2017

Someone asked me how was my Memorial Day weekend was today. To be honest, Sunday made the weekend for me. Seeing a young 12 year old so engaged in wanting to clean and reset a Civil War soldier headstone. There was no short cuts, she wanted to be part of digging it out, cleaning it, putting the dirt back in, making sure it was straight and put the flag holder back. On top of that she asked questions about the stone, the procedure, and the veteran himself. It was truly great to watch it all unfold. A volunteer from Preserving Newbury, Tracey who did an amazing job working with the 12 year old all day. It was truly a blessing to witness. This was a great way to pay respect to this veteran for Memorial Day. 🇺🇸

It’s all about Honor and Respect

As Memorial Day approaches things are happening around the Town of Newbury. Flags for the veterans’ graves have been ordered, walks around the ceremonies have been and are being conducted, and for the first time ever – veterans graves are being cleaned and reset (if needed).

A newly formed group, Preserving Newbury, which consist of the volunteers who spearheaded the much need major clean up project at the First Parish Burying Ground. Since handing over the day-to-day upkeep and maintenance work back to the First Parish Church – these volunteers still wanted to continue doing preservation work, and work preserving the past, the future and the history of Town of Newbury.

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Stick Holder for Flag Box!

Stick Holder for Flag Box!

Recently we have found the sticks from grave marker flags on the ground next to the flag box. They don’t fit in the box and sometimes if they are forced in the box they get jammed. PROBLEM SOLVED!! Today we added a piece of PVC where people can leave their sticks. We will save these sticks for the flag retirement ceremony. Please de-attached them from the grave marker flags and leave the stick in the PVC.

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