A group of Watseka residents spent time Sunday morning to line the major streets in the city with American flags in honor of a fallen soldier.
Sgt. Jeremy C. Sherman was killed in a helicopter crash on a peacekeeping mission in Egypt last week.
He and fellow soldiers were part of the Multinational Force and Observers, which is a multinational peacekeeping mission established in 1981 to supervise the implementation of the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace.
The group of about 40 volunteers line U.S. 24 and Route 1 in the Watseka city limits with the American flags in Sherman’s honor.
The group was made up of Legion members, FFA members, teachers, students, coaches and others in the community who wanted to honor Sherman and show support for his family.
Eric Starkey and son Quinn were two of the volunteers.
He said they were honored to help out.
“In a small town it’s something you don’t ever think about happening. You see it on the news in the world all the time and then when it hits a little closer to home you feel that obligation, especially when it’s someone so young giving his life for his country.
“It’s an obligation to stop what you are doing and help out,” he said. “For me to bring my son out here, and to get him to understand the sacrifices that people make every day for us to be able to live in this country and have the freedoms that we have. It’s the least we can do to come and take an hour to put flags up. It’s something we will not forget.”
Legion member and Vietnam veteran Ken Lehmann said they were there to honor “the loss of a comrade. I couldn’t believe it was somebody from here,” he said. “We lose a lot of the older ones, but the younger ones shouldn’t go.”
Legion Post 24 Commander Lyle Kofoot said there were six Legion members who helped.
“We really appreciate being called to do this,” he said, noting the community turnout was really good.
Amy Curry and children Conner and Claire also helped out. Curry, a teacher at Glenn Raymond School, remembers teaching Sherman in school. He graduated from Watseka Community High School in 2015.
They felt it was important to help out Sunday morning.
“Freedom is not free,” Amy said, “and we have a hometown hero who gave his life in honor of that freedom and we owe him a lifetime of gratitude.”