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• For four years, 10-year-old Ryley Malek has joined Cub Scout Pack 156, based out of Prairie Grove, on the Friday before Memorial Day to place flags at veterans' gravesites.
So this year, when he learned that he might not be able to because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oakwood Hills boy was disappointed, said Joyce Malek, Ryley’s mom.
Malek said the Boy Scouts of America have advised units not to have group outings during this time. They also have been conducting virtual meetings.
Malek called someone at BSA who told her Scouts and their families still could individually place the flags, but they had to socially distance themselves from others.
A local American Veterans chapter sets up the event at Windridge Memorial Park in Cary.
In past years, the Scouts would meet chapter representatives to receive the flags before putting them on veterans’ gravesites.
This year, Ryley – joined by Joyce Malek and his dad, Brian Malek – wore a mask and gloves to meet an AMVETS representative and put down a flag. Other Scouts also came on their own to do the same, although it was not the same number as in past years, Joyce Malek said.
Ryley’s uncle and one of his grandfathers served in Vietnam, making Memorial Day even more meaningful to him, Joyce Malek said.
“[I was] proud that he wants to do this,” she said. “I asked him when he was done and I said, 'How do you feel?' He's like, 'I feel good.'”