Highland News Leader

St. Paul School students participating in ‘Stars for Our Troops’ program

Alex Neier and Andrew Thomae cut stars out of flags for the ‘Stars for Our Troops’ program at St. Paul School.
Alex Neier and Andrew Thomae cut stars out of flags for the ‘Stars for Our Troops’ program at St. Paul School. Courtesy photo

Young students are using old flags to brighten the day of those who keep us all safe.

Students at St. Paul Catholic School in Highland are participating in the Stars for Our Troops program.

Stars for Our Troops, which was started in 2010 by Susan Wells in Troy, N.Y., takes old, tattered and faded U.S. flags that are retired from service and passes the legacy of their embroidered stars to those who defended them. The stars are cut from the fields of blue, known as the canton, from these old flags. They are then placed into a bag with a note and sent to current service men and women, veterans and first responders.

“The St. Paul students are cutting out the stars, in a pentagon shape. The stars are then placed in a bag with an explanation of where the star came from and to let others know they are not forgotten,” said St. Paul Principal Kathy Sherman.

The remainder of the flag is disposed of by burning in a traditional flag retirement ceremony held on July 4.

“Our older students are ‘star makers,’ and we have been working in conjunction with American Legion Post 439,” said Renee Mitchell, vice principal at St. Paul.

The program was brought to St. Paul School by Val Buchmiller and Bill Halcomb, members of Lee Iten American Legion Post 439 in Highland. Buchmiller said he first learned about the program from Louis Latzer Librarian Angela Kim.

“It’s a neat little old program, and the veterans really appreciate receiving the bag,” Buchmiller said.

He said the St. Paul students have “done a great job” with the community service project.

“They jumped right in,” he said.

Stars were distributed at the school’s Veterans Day Mass. The program is ongoing.

“When flags are retired, we will continue to cut out these stars and place them in small pouches with a card. These stars will be distributed to veterans, those currently serving, and first responders,” Mitchell said.

People who are interested in retiring an old flag are encouraged to contact the American Legion or VFW, Buchmiller said.

More info can be found at starsforourtroops.org.