BISMARCK, N.D. - In honor of veterans day a local Bismarck Boy Scout is spreading his message of what it means to be a leader by demonstrating an old tradition.
16 year old Jake Southam from Bismarck is finishing the final step to become an Eagle Scout.
"It's pretty awesome that I am this close to being able to get something that I've worked half my life for," said Jake Southam, Bismarck.
His last mission as a Boy Scout was not taken at half-mast. With help from his troop, they ceremoniously burned irreparably damaged American flags to follow the U.S. flag code.
"To do something like this that's so respectful is a big undertaking, so I was pretty proud that he had arrived at this," said Reeve Southam, Jake's Dad.
While going around town, he noticed a few businesses and homes with flags that were in disrepair and wanted to hoist into action.
"So I decided I would try and use that and build onto it, to try and get something that the whole city could kinda take part in," said Jake.
Originally the goal was to fly under the radar with have 50 flags, one flag to represent each state.
"What better way to talk about the unity of the United States than to represent each state of the union with a flag," said Reeve Southam.
But thanks to an uplifting response from the Bismarck mayor and local business, Jake received more than 325 American flags.
He credits his courage to his grandfather who is a lifetime scout and uncles, which all three are air force veterans. He will be the first one in his family to reach an Eagle Scout level.
"You know I think it's tempting to look at the generation of kids that my son belongs to and say '"man they don't get it, they don't understand hard work"', and I think we have to take a step back and see the hard work that they do in their way, cause I am so proud of what he's accomplished," said Southam.
Southam says he will also try to help other boys in his troop reach Eagle Scout level.