MORRISTOWN, NJ - Many first responders, doctors, nurses, police, fire and EMT workers are on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to keep the numbers as low as possible and helping those affected by the crisis. One 10-year-old girl, Callie Danysh, from Morris Township, wants to make sure these dedicated groups know that they are appreciated.

“Things have been fine under quarantine, but I wanted to do more,” said Callie. “I felt like giving back to the community by making these flags with inspirational messages. I just wanted to put smiles to their faces as they were doing their duties.”

For the last few weeks, Callie and her mom Andrea and nine-year-old brother Ethan have made and raised a total of 500 flags all around Morristown, Morris Township and Morris Plains. These homemade flags are in salute to local firemen, police officers, the Morris Minutemen, caregivers at the Morristown Medical Center and the Atlantic Rehabilitation Center and Morris County Courthouse.

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“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Andrea, who works as a teacher in Mt. Arlington. “This teaches them to do community service, but when you hear the feedback from the people who are walking out and seeing these flags. They are just so happy to see that. It is a warm feeling to give back in the smallest possible way. And we are still not done. Anytime, we see someone help the community, we want to make more flags and let them know we are appreciative.”

Callie’s goal of raising as many flags as possible is part of an elective service project for Cub Scouts, entitled “Build My Own Hero,” to honor all those on frontlines. She is a Webelos cub scout of Pack 513, Den 10, of the Steel Rose Patrol, and refers to this project as “Flags of Gratitude.”  The project was completed with the help of her brother and their scout dens.

“To all our heroes on the frontline, (Police, Fire, EMT, and Medical Professionals), although we don't have an award to grant, we can offer our eternal gratitude,” said Andrea on her Facebook account. “Your service to our community is appreciated beyond words and we thank you for striving to make a difference. ‘Flags of Gratitude’ are dedicated to you all. [Callie] has spent countless hours over the last few weeks creating flags that display an inspiring message. With the help of her den, she was hopeful that each department would be represented (Morristown, Morris Township, and Morris Plains). She wanted them to recognize how much they are loved and appreciated in this community. Positivity and smiles are, too, contagious.”

With every flag raised, Callie feels she has done a great part making sure there is recognition for those who have contributed so much to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Her family also intends to make more flags simply for anyone who has contributed, such as restaurants doing their own food drives. The Danysh family is also working with Pack 513 to collect money and donate food to hospitals and the Interfaith Food Pantry.

“I feel very good and very pleased that I’m doing this,” said Callie. “I believe that I’m very happy doing this. When the first responders see this, they will know that they are all respected.”

To learn more about Cub Scout Pack 513, and how to get involved in their activities, including Flags of Gratitude, visit them on their website at https://www.pack513.org/, or visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cubpack513nj/.