Giving Back: Volunteers Place Flags on Lesser-Known Veteran Grav - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Giving Back: Volunteers Place Flags on Lesser-Known Veteran Grave Sites

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(KCEN) - They fought for our country, and a local fire department wants to make sure they're not forgotten.

These service members are not buried in veteran's cemeteries, but they still died heroes.

You might not know it unless someone told you.

"People just really don't think about it," said Jimmy Snowden.

"It's not something that crosses your mind when you drive past a cemetery," added Tanya Borders.

Hundreds, thousands of American vets, laid to rest without much fanfare.

"This is something that means a lot to me," said David Borders, chief of the Little River-Academy Volunteer Fire Department.

A Marine Corps vet himself, David has led the charge the last few years, placing flags on veterans' graves throughout Bell County.

"It's taking care of the ones that used to take care of us," he said.

This year they're at four cemeteries, and trying to add more every year.

"I never had the privilege to serve," said Snowden, a four-year member of the department, "and I just feel like I need to do something."

They put down just as many flags as they can. This year, it's more than 300. But being a volunteer department, they depend on donations to afford even those.

"That's probably the worst feeling is knowing that you can't cover them all," said Tanya Borders, David's wife and president of the department.

But they're out there anyway, covering as many as they possibly can.

"This is really a great honor for us to do," said Cheryl Peters, who's been with the department for eight years.

"We have a motto in the Marine Corps, no one gets left behind," Davis said, "and that's kind of what we're trying to do here: make sure that no one gets forgotten."

It's not an official requirement for members of the department.

"I feel great to be with a bunch of people that want to do this," said 16-year-old Ciara McCray, a junior member.

She and about a dozen others spent their Memorial Day weekend how they feel they should.

"None of us have to be out here," McCray said. "I could be doing something else, but we're all out here showing that we do care."

"It just makes me feel great to be a part of something like this," said 18-year-old Ashley Borders, David's daughter.

The entire department, volunteering as one.

"It makes me very proud," David said, "that they'd give up part of their time on a weekend where most people are out enjoying family time."

They pack up their gear, just in case, and took their fleet of fire trucks to the various cemetery plots in the area.

"A lot of our veterans who have no family in this area don't get recognized during memorial day holidays," Peters said.

And it's not just the American flag they're putting down. Sometimes next to it they'll place the Texas flag or a firefighters' flag, even one POW-MIA flag at the Greathouse Cemetery.

"The people buried in all these cemeteries need to be honored for what they've done," Mickinzy Beck, 16, said.

And that's what these volunteer firefighters do, year after year.

"It's us giving back for what they have given us," Tanya Borders said.

"We try to do the best we can," Snowden said.

"They did all this for us," added McCray, "and I just want to make sure that they know that we recognize that they did it."

If you'd like to donate to allow them to cover more of the veterans' graves in Bell County, mail to: P.O. Box 531, Little River, TX 76554, or call 254-982-4251.
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