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A garbage man in Utah was filmed last week taking an American flag out of the trash and folding it neatly when he thought nobody was looking.
Don “Munch” Gardner, a Marine Corps veteran, was secretly taped honoring the flag by Huntingdon, Utah resident Brooke Cowley, according to Fox 13.
“I was a complete idiot! I was cleaning our porch while the kids did an Easter egg hunt. I threw away our flag and pole because it had broken and ripped,” Cowley wrote on Facebook. “Then I witnessed our ‘garbage man’ stop get out of the truck, unhook the flag and take the time to fold it!”
Utah garbage man Don “Munch” Gardner saves an American flag from the trash and folds it neatly. (Photo courtesy Brooke Cowley)
Cowley said Gardner’s action made her ashamed that she neglected to retire the flag properly, especially since she is married to a veteran.
“In this moment I was so thankful for what he had done and the obvious love he has for our country and our flag! Thank you sir for teaching me a lesson I won’t forget,” she wrote of Gardner.
Gardner, who spends eight to 12 hours per day collecting garbage cans across Emery and Carbon counties in Utah, told a local outlet that he has saved at least a dozen flags from the landfill in the past 11 years. He said he is angered when he sees flags thrown away.
U.S. flag (iStock)
“Sometimes it’s a mistake. Most of the time, it’s on purpose. I have a problem with that, so I just take it out take care of it,” he said.
“I took an oath once to defend this country and our flag, and I still do,” Gardner said. “A lot of people died protecting that flag and fighting under that flag. A lot of blood’s been shed so that we have the freedoms that we have today.”
Gardner also explained that there is a proper way to dispose of an American flag. “Anybody in Emery County that knows me, if you don’t know what to do with it, get it to me,” he said. “I’ll make sure it’s took care of proper.”