(ESTHERVILLE, IA) Larry Eckhardt traveled 358 miles to honor Staff Sgt. Steven Blass. He criss-crosses the country showing patriotism at the funerals of fallen soldiers.
Meet "The Flag man"
It's truly a sight to see - red, white and blue flags outline 8 miles of pavement in the name of freedom and sacrifice.
"It's an experience you can't get over. Unfortunately it's for the reason it is," says Larry Eckhardt, who lives in Little York, Illinois.
The Blass family name written in erasable marker on the side of his van and the motto, "he gave all his tomorrows, so you could have today."
"Last year alone we figured out we worked with over 30,000 people and to me that is beyond measure. How many people get to work with that many people" he says.
He may not even know all their names but more than 300 volunteers showed up to help Larry stick all these flags into the ground.
It all began five years ago. Larry began collecting 50 flags here, 50 flags there and now he has more than 2,100 American flags and that number is growing.
No flag is too small or too large for that matter. That's why he's known as "The Flag Man" a title Larry cherishes.
"It's an honor. It really is. We had one where everybody was thanking me saying they didn't want to see me again. One guy couldn't understand why they were saying that. I said stop and think about it when I show up normally its for a funeral," he says.
I caught Larry on the tail end of his journey in Estherville. A local snapped a picture of us before he left. As he drove off the sun was setting and like a classic Hollywood movie, He is a hero on his way to help the next family in need.
If you'd like to help Larry he accepts donations. Just visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/larry.t.eckhardt?ref=ts&fref=ts