WOW! This child is amazing!

By June Headley-Greenlaw

I was watching the news this weekend, and a story came on about a child that was honoring veterans.  Of course, being a military family, it got my full attention.  This was a story about a child in 7th grade that has been working for three years to honor veterans.  As I listened to his story, I completely went into the ugly cry!  As Carrie Underwood says, “you can’t cry pretty.”

The story on the news was a follow-up with a child they had featured last year.  They didn’t dig a lot into the backstory so, of course, I went looking for it and found it on the web.  This young boy, his heart and his actions, astound me!

He went to visit his Grandfather’s grave to place a flag and some flowers on Veteran’s Day and noticed that many of the graves didn’t have any flags or flowers.  Disturbed by this, he vowed to do something about it.  He started raising money by vacuuming floors, and he set a goal to place a flag and flower on the graves of each of the veterans resting in the cemetery where his Grandfather was buried.

His mission grew from there, and he has now honored over 180,000 veterans by placing a flag and red carnation on their graves.  He doesn’t stop there.  You can read the rest of his story at www.prestonsharp.net.

The story touched me so deeply because I remember the first Christmas after we lost our Marine, Jared Greenlaw.  He was only 25 years old when he died in April of 2017.  That Christmas, my husband and I donated to an organization called Wreaths Across America.  The organization was started in Maine, which is where Jared’s gravesite is located in a Veteran’s cemetery, and their mission is to place wreaths on the graves of veterans across this country.  However, we didn’t know if they would specifically get to his grave.Capture

We were devastated that we couldn’t be there to do something ourselves that year because we were in South Carolina, so we ended up calling Jared’s uncle Mark and asking him to do it for us.  Without hesitation, he did.  We were blessed to have family members close to the cemetery, but the sting of thinking that our son’s grave might be bare for Christmas was overwhelming.  It might not seem like a big deal to some, but when the only way you have left to take care of your child is to dress up their grave, believe me, it’s important!

I was touched by the actions of this child so deeply partly because of his age and partly because of his dogged determination.  Not many kids his age understand what it means to be a veteran and certainly kids his age have things more fun to do than visiting cemeteries.  Yet Preston seems to truly understand the importance of what he is doing.   I’m certain that the veterans he is honoring in the cemeteries are just as grateful to Preston as those veterans he’s visiting with that we are blessed to still have among us.

I am proud of this young man and his cause, and I’m hoping that you will be too.  If you’d like to help him carry out his mission, read more about him, purchase a t-shirt or a challenge coin, or donate funds for him to purchase more flags and flowers for our veterans by visiting his website at www.prestonsharp.net.

Thank You

By: Katie Austin 

Veterans Day is a day set aside each year to honor our armed forces for the sacrifices they make to keep our country safe. These brave men and women give up their personal freedom to take the ultimate pledge to serve and sacrifice for our country.

On Veterans Day there will be parades, events, television specials, and news stories. Many retailers will show their appreciation to veterans by the way of free meals or discounts. Those brave men and women deserve at least that! They give up so much to ensure that we are all kept safe! But then, what happens after today? Do we wait until this time next year to be thankful for their service?

In my opinion, our appreciation should be shown more often. If these men and women are taking time to defend our country every day, then shouldn’t we take the time more than once a year to let them know how much their service means to us?

One day last week I stopped by Food Lion on the way home. As I walked through the entranceway, I passed by a man in uniform who had just checked out. I turned around to see him organizing his bags so that he could leave the cart behind. As he picked up the first bag, I walked up to him and extended my hand. As he shook my hand with his free hand, I said “Thank you very much for your service. I appreciate all that you do for our country.” He was shocked. I am not sure if I was the first to do that, but either way he veterans daydidn’t know what to say. He just smiled and said, “You are welcome and it is my honor.” Wow! I was blown away that he said it was his honor to serve our country, and all I could think was that it was an honor to have met one of the many heroes in the armed services. I smiled, and as I walked past the registers, several people just stared at me. Not sure if it was my hair sticking up out of place or if they couldn’t get over what I had just done. I smiled again, as I hoped my act would move them to do the same. This man had been shopping in their store and I am sure I wasn’t the only person to notice that he was in uniform.

Shouldn’t this be commonplace? When we see someone in uniform, shouldn’t it be common to simply extend our hand and thank them for their service? Or have we all just gotten so busy that we don’t have time to stop for a few minutes to appreciate the bravery of others, their patriotism, their sacrifice?

It’s a simple gesture that only takes only a few minutes of time to show that we appreciate all that they have sacrificed for us, our families, and our country. When you see someone today or any day in uniform, take a few minutes to thank them for their service. It’s the least we can do after everything they have done for us.

Thank you to all those that have served or are serving our country!! God bless each of you!

For a list of retailers offering free meals or discounts for veterans on Veterans Day, visit: http://themilitarywallet.com/veterans-day-free-meals-and-discounts/.