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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Honoring a Hero

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Brazil resident Pat Herrick loads flags into a truck while volunteering to place flags along State Road 340 for the upcoming funeral of Spc. Arronn Fields. The flags were donated by "The Flag Man," Larry Eckhardt. [Order this photo]
Volunteers set up flags for Spc. Arronn Fields

Larry Eckhardt attended the funeral of a soldier a handful of years ago.

While he saw several flags flowing through the air in honor of the soldier, he believed there weren't enough.

Since then, Eckhardt made it his mission to help communities display their pride for fallen soldiers.

And "The Flag Man" was born.

On Sunday, several Clay County volunteers showed up at Northview High School to help line State Road 340, National Avenue and Washington Street with flags in honor of Indiana National Guard Spc. Arronn Fields, 27, Knightsville, who died May 21, in Afghanistan.

Spc. Fields' funeral is set for 11 a.m., Tuesday, at the Brazil Nazarene Church. The flags will line the road to Clearview Cemetery, where Spc. Fields will be laid to rest.

Eckhardt told The Brazil Times Sunday honoring Spc. Fields was the 88th time he has helped a community with flags.

"This is everything," Eckhardt said. "We have so many rights these people are defending that we take for granted."

The volunteers placed a total of 2,280 flags along the route. The flags were set approximately 9-feet apart.

They were also placed all throughout Clearview Cemetery.

While Eckhardt said he had learned about Spc. Fields dying through Facebook, he also received a call from Moore Funeral Home owner Vanita Moore, who asked if he would come to Brazil to help honor Spc. Fields.

Moore said she saw a television program regarding the Little York, Ill., native.

"It just hit me," Moore said. "I thought, 'We've got to get him.'"

On Sunday, Eckhardt introduced himself to all the volunteers who showed up to help place the flags.

Following introductions, flags were placed in trucks and taken to specific areas along the route.

Nine-inch holes were punched in the ground where the flags would be placed.

"You guys are my heroes," Eckhardt told all the volunteers.

Kim Stultz, mother of Marine Cpl. Greg Stultz -- who died two years ago in Afghanistan -- was one of the many volunteers who offered help Sunday to honor Spc. Fields.

"To see things from the other perspective and to see so much support amazes me," Kim said. "It just goes to show you how the community is behind you. I think this is wonderful."

She added one of Cpl. Stultz' friends was also honored with the flag lining.

"You will remember this forever," she said. "It feels so good to be able to give something back."

Brazil resident Pat Herrick also believed volunteering to help place the flags was the right thing to do.

Larry "The Flag Man" Eckhardt speaks with Moore Funeral Home's Vanita Moore prior to the placing of flags along State Road 340 Sunday for the upcoming funeral of Spc. Arronn Fields. [Order this photo]
"It's really special," he said. "It's good to see the area come together for (these soldiers)."

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It was amazing to watch so many folks placing the flags. I will never forget the sound. A fabulous tribute to our soldier, Spc Aaronn Fields. May you rest in peace and we never forget!

-- Posted by Sharma on Sun, Jun 3, 2012, at 9:30 PM

I was honored to be one of those volunteers!!

-- Posted by bandmom_63 on Sun, Jun 3, 2012, at 9:32 PM

After seeing the procession of Spc. Fields of Friday my 11 yr. old son said that he wanted to volunteer putting flags along our streets. So he, my wife, and I all came to help. My son told me that he could not have thought of a better way that he could have spend his day, as he set the very last flag on the route. My wife and I have to agree with him. We met a good bunch of people through out the day. Thank you Flag Man and all other volunteers. May you rest in peace Spc. Fields.

-- Posted by Bills310 on Sun, Jun 3, 2012, at 10:20 PM

I live on 340 and I must say it is such a spectacular sight to see all the flags placed in honor of Spc. Arronn Fields....my eyes welled up with tears and my heart was filled with pride to see all the hard work and dedication that it took to line the streets of Brazil....The Flag Man has a heart of gold to volunteer his time to honor the men and women who fight for this country daily so that we may live in freedom! May God Bless Spc. Arronn Fields, our hometown hero!

-- Posted by clgruener on Mon, Jun 4, 2012, at 8:12 AM

Welcome home Spc. Arronn Fields; God will continue to bless your family!!

-- Posted by CAB (Concerns About Brazil) on Mon, Jun 4, 2012, at 12:13 PM

RIP SPC ARRONN, I did not have the honor of knowing you but my son did. He is there with you today. He is with you with the rest of your MP unit. He was proud of you and so am I. May you rest in peace and you are my HERO. Prayers to your family and to all your friends and fellow Unit that is still in that place.

-- Posted by klk on Tue, Jun 5, 2012, at 1:21 PM

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