UNSUNG HERO: Flags for Veterans - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

UNSUNG HERO: Flags for Veterans

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BENTON -- A Benton woman shows her gratitude toward Veterans through a simple act of kindness. She buys U.S. flags and marks every grave with them twice a year.

When Shalyn Settlemoir visits the Masonic & Odd Fellow Cemetery in Benton. She doesn't just visit her own loved ones. She checks the nearly 40 acres of property for passed Veterans so she can place a flag near their grave.

"Just walking through you just notice a lot of veterans stones that don't have flags, so I just thought, why not? said Shalyn.     

She's been doing this every Memorial and Veterans Day since 2015. 

"You see the old white stones from the Civil War and World War I and II, and they don't have anybody around or left to do it possibly."

That was also the year her son Jason from health problems. He was 37 years old.

"My dad was military, 20 years in. My father-in-law was military, my brothers were military, my grandpa was military and it was just something that I felt would be something he would think was pretty cool that I'm doing," said Shalyn.

Her efforts grew over time and she began checking record books to make sure no military man or woman was left out. In May, she planted about 2,200 flags.

"He [Jason] loved history and I just felt like this was something I could do to maybe honor him as well," said Shalyn.    

Cemetery Board President Marty Leffler, especially appreciated seeing the site twice a year.

"I have two grandfathers out here and she places flags on their graves," added Marty.    

ShaIyn spent four days preparing for this past Veterans Day, by herself. Not all the graves have military markers, so she placed yellow stickers on the ones that don't, to help her keep track.

"When she gets involved with a cause she goes all out and she's got a passion for the veterans," said Marty.        

When it was time to pick them up, her daughter Mariah, grabbed every flag, by herself. Marty believes that's proof Shalyn's actions teach the young and old.

"Not only honoring her family, [but] she's also honoring everybody's family out here," added Marty. 

Shayln said she couldn't have done it without the donations from her community, and the surrounding towns that helped her buy the flags.    

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