Since its inception in 1911, only 4% of Scouts have earned the highest rank of Eagle Scout

INDIO — Ruben Diaz Jr., a senior at Shadow Hills High School and a lifelong resident of Indio, will unveil his Eagle Scout service project on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 2 p.m. in front of Indio City Hall. The project is a flag drop box, where people will be able to leave their tattered American flags with assurance they will be safely and reverently retired.

Local Boy Scout to Unveil Eagle Scout Project

Ruben Diaz Jr. works on his Eagle Scout project.

This project is the culmination of years of commitment to service and personal growth as a Boy Scout. Working with the city of Indio and the American Legion, RJ, as he is called by family and friends, decided to establish a method for flag retirement that would be easy for citizen use and respectful of the stars and stripes that have flown over the community. He worked with Eagle Scout and Indio City Manager Bryan Montgomery to determine the best placement for the flag drop box and with members of the Herman Granados American Legion Post 739 on procedures for the flag retirement. His project further includes beautification of the grounds where the flag drop box is located. Following months of determined hard work and lessons from Ruben Diaz, Sr. on metal fabrication, RJ’s project will be unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony after the morning’s installation and final touches to the box and the site. He will be assisted by volunteers from Troop 50, the oldest in the desert. The first flag retirement ceremony following the box installation is planned for Monday, Dec. 20, at 8 a.m. by the members of the American Legion. Flags currently being held by Post 739, and those dropped off at RJ’s flag drop box, will be ceremonially burned. The public and media are welcome to attend both ceremonies.

“As a fellow Eagle Scout, I understand all of the hard work that Ruben and his parents have put forth to earn this award and we’re grateful for his project to bring a flag box to Downtown Indio,” added Montgomery.

The flag drop box is similar to a street corner mailbox but painted bright white. Constructed of metal, the box was fabricated over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic by the father-son team. It is 20” W x 48” H x 26” D and will be attached to the concrete with bolts. The graphics on the drop box clearly mark its purpose. The members of the American Legion Post 739 will make routine stops at the locked box to remove the flags for proper retirement.

RJ will graduate from Shadow Hills High School in 2022. He plans on attending College of the Desert and sees some type of design work in his future goals. He is a cross country and track athlete at his school and represented SHHS at the State Championships in 2021 with his 4x400m relay team placing eighth in California. He attended the Devil Pups Youth Program in 2018 at USMC Camp Pendleton, and participated in a summer leadership program with the Air Force Academy in 2021. RJ expresses his gratitude “for the leadership opportunities I’ve had so I can demonstrate the skills I’ve learned over the years and help people who don’t have the same skills.”

Image Sources

  • Eagle-Scout-2: DSUSD
  • Ruben Diaz Jr.: DSUSD