Acts of Kindness
Garbage collector saves American flag from bin and his actions are filmed
After spotting him with the American flag, she quickly hit record to film his actions.
Caryl Jane Espiritu
05.18.22

Anybody can show their patriotism, even in the simplest of ways. This is what Don “Munch” Gardner proved when he did something that amazed everyone online.

Pexels - Sawyer Sutton
Source:
Pexels - Sawyer Sutton

Don is a garbage man who patrolled eight to twelve hours each day to get the trash around the Emery and Carbon counties in Huntington, Utah.

YouTube - Fox 13 News Utah
Source:
YouTube - Fox 13 News Utah

He drives his truck on this route each day and spends long hours making sure everyone’s trash is picked up.

“I stay pretty busy,” he told FOX 13. “I’m the go-to guy. Something needs to be done, they come to me, I take care of it.”

Don never really leaves his truck as he makes his trips down the neighborhoods he is assigned to. He normally drives around, picks up the garbage, and drives on to the next house.

Facebook - Brooke Baugh Cowley
Source:
Facebook - Brooke Baugh Cowley

But there was one moment when the man decided to step out of his truck, and he did something unexpected.

When he realized that he was looking at the U.S. flag thrown inside a home’s trash bin, he immediately stopped his truck and stepped down. He approached the bin and carefully retrieved the flag.

Facebook - Brooke Baugh Cowley
Source:
Facebook - Brooke Baugh Cowley

Once he got it, he neatly folded it and gently kept it. All the while, the man did not realize that someone else saw him do the simple but profound act of patriotism and shared this incredible story online.

That same day, Brooke Crowley was out of the house and she witnessed what Don did.

YouTube - Fox 13 News Utah
Source:
YouTube - Fox 13 News Utah

The woman saw the neighborhood garbage man take out something from the dumpster. It was the American flag.

“He pulls up, he gets out of his truck, and I’m thinking, ‘What is he doing?'” she said. “And then immediately, I was so embarrassed, like, oh my gosh, I was petrified, because I’m married to a veteran. What am I doing?”

She caught the moment on film and shared the video online.

Facebook - Brooke Baugh Cowley
Source:
Facebook - Brooke Baugh Cowley

Brooke admitted to accidentally throwing the flag in the garbage bin during a clean-up after celebrating Easter at home. She also shared how much she admired what the garbage collector did.

“I wanted our community to really see what he did, and to see the care and love that he gave our flag,” she told FOX 13. “I wanted them to see and to give him the respect that he gave to our flag.”

While everyone may have thought that it was a rare moment, the people who know Don were not surprised at all at what he did.

YouTube - Fox 13 News Utah
Source:
YouTube - Fox 13 News Utah

Don is in fact a United States Marine Corps veteran and even at a young age, he already showed patriotism. His friends knew that he would do something like what he did with the flag in the trash bin.

“I just thought, that is Don, that is who Don is,” said Whitney Phelps. “That didn’t surprise me that he did it, because he is a veteran, but I think when you’re from a small town, you kind of have a love for your country and for the flag.”

Don was just being himself, a guy who loves his country.

During his 11 years working as a garbage collector, Don has saved quite a lot of flags in the trash.

“Makes me mad,” he said. “I get angry. 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.”

YouTube - Fox 13 News Utah
Source:
YouTube - Fox 13 News Utah

The man truly is a great example of how loving one’s country is important and something that we should all be aware of.

“I took an oath once to defend this country and our flag, and I still do,” Don 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.”

For those in Don’s area that don’t know how to properly retire to an American flag – he shared that people can get it to him, and he’ll make sure it’s taken care of the right way.

Watch the video below to see more on this story!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Caryl Jane Espiritu
hi@sbly.com
Caryl Jane Espiritu is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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