Funeral home collects old flags, cell phones

Staff report

PIQUA — Melcher-Sowers Funeral Home, of Piqua, is the site of a program called “Old Glory Collection Center.” The funeral home is one of more than 500 exclusive veterans and family memorial care providers nationwide participating in this program to collect old, tattered, unusable flags to be retired in a dignified manner in accordance with the U.S. Flag Code.

Another way VFMC providers are reaching out is by their participation in the Cell Phones for Soldiers program. More than 150,000 troops are serving overseas and are away from their families. Hundreds of veterans and family memorial care providers nationwide are calling on all Americans to support these brave men and women by donating old, unused cell phones. Included in becoming an Exclusive Veterans and Family Memorial care Provider, Melcher-Sowers Funeral Home in Piqua has become an official drop off site for Cell Phones for Soldiers to help troops stay connected with their families.

“We’re proud to show our support for our U.S. troops and to contribute to a worthy cause like Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist of Norwell, Mass., with $21 of their own money. Since then the registered 501c3 non-profit organization has raised almost $1 million in donations and distributed more than 50,000 prepaid calling cards to soldiers serving overseas,” said Brian Sowers, funeral director.

The donated phones are sent to ReCellular, which pays Cell Phones for soldiers for each phone, enough to provide an hour of talk time to soldiers abroad. Approximately half the phones ReCellular processes are reconditioned and resold to wholesale companies in more than 40 countries around the world. Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and recycled to reclaim materials.

Local residents can support the collection drive by donating their cell phones at Melcher-Sowers Funeral Home, 646 W. High St., Piqua, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Residents may also drop off any retired flags at the funeral home and the staff will see to it that the flags are put to rest with honor and respect.

Staff report