50 stars and 13 stripes of red, white and blue majestically wave in the wind as fallen soldiers return home, thanks to Larry Eckhardt. Larry has more than 22 hundred flags that he loads into a trailer and takes around the Midwest to line the streets as those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Each time Larry heads to a town with his flags, the volunteers come out in large numbers to help.
“He is kind of that rallying point for people,” nominator Lois Retherford says. “He helps them bring it together so they have a purpose together to do something.”
Lois is a high school classmate of Larry’s and she wanted him to know his work was appreciated so she nominated him for WQAD’s Pay It Forward. She was given $300 to pass along to him.
Since he started, Larry has been honored and recognized by many but Larry remains humble. He says he is not the special one.
“We want these families to know that what they have contributed is non-repayable, we can`t pay them back,” Larry says. “I am just a guy with a lot of flags, I`m nothing special. The families are the special ones. It’s important that it keeps going.”
You can follow Larry’s efforts and also make donations through his Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/larry.t.eckhardt