Our veterans deserve our utmost praise and respect. They have sacrificed so much for us, that is the least we can do for them.
Unfortunately, as veterans get older, many of them get forgotten and the respect starts to fade away. People move on with their lives and forget just what it was these brave men and women did to ensure we are able to live the lives we have
That’s why we love hearing stories like this one. Thomas Hunter served in the Army from 1942-49. He participated in the D-Day invasion during World War II. After the war, Hunter never married. He had 11 siblings, but when he passed away on September 12 at the age of 93 he had outlived them all. Only some nieces survived him.
When it came time to plan Hunter’s funeral, they didn’t know who they could get to carry his casket. Bryan Price, the funeral director at Southern Funeral Homes in Winnfield, Louisiana, decided to contact local football coach Lyn Bankston to see if any of his players would be willing to help out.
Bankston knew just the young men. He asked players Matthew Harrell, Brett Jurek, Justin Lawson, T.J. Homan, Christian Evans, and Lee Estay if they would be willing to step in for this man and his family. Every single one of them gave a resounding yes.
“These are all young men who are leaders in our program and our community,” Bankston said. “They know the sacrifice Mr. Hunter made and it meant something to them.”
On the day of the funeral, the six teens arrived in uniform – their football uniforms.
“The kids asked if it was appropriate for them to wear their jerseys, and I said absolutely it was, because you and this program stand for exactly what Mr. Hunter stood for when he was serving this country,” Bankston said.
These young leaders proceeded to carry out their duties for the somber ceremony, giving this veteran the proper send-off he deserved.
In a speech on the House floor Monday, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham praised the young men’s actions.
“They didn’t know this man, but they knew that every veteran deserves to die with dignity and be honored for the sacrifices he made in defense of this nation,” Abraham said. “I think the actions of these young men speak volumes about what’s truly important — country, community, family, God.”
Coach Bankston is also proud of these teens and the way they stepped up to honor this man.
“We’re trying to teach more than football here,” he said. “One of the things we try to teach our young people is to value history and to recognize that so many people sacrificed so they could have the life they have.”
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