JACKSONVILLE, Ark. — The military is woven through the fabric of Jacksonville, and it's something that's been a huge part of George Richardson's life.
"I loved every day in the military," said Richardson, a 25-year veteran.
After spending time in Vietnam and Rhode Island, Richardson eventually retired in 1989. He now lives in Lonoke, but spends plenty of time at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) building in Jacksonville.
"If it hadn't been for the DAV, I never would have-- I would have quit," Richardson said.
Volunteers at the DAV helped Richardson get more from his VA benefits, which is something he said he's grateful for.
If you ask the volunteers though, they said they're grateful for him and they showed their appreciation in a major way.
"It was a surprise to him and that's what it was supposed to be," said Dan Lloyd, Commander of the DAV's Jacksonville chapter.
Richardson thought Tuesday was just a day for him to talk through more VA paperwork.
But it wouldn't be much of a surprise if he knew though.
"You're going to bring a tear to my eye again," Richardson said. "Somebody else should deserve it more than I, but I feel real humbled."
Richardson was given a symbol of his service – a custom-made quilt to honor his service.
"We do it out of love for our veterans. The more we can help, the more we feel," Lloyd said.
Richardson is one of many veterans the DAV helps on a daily basis, but Lloyd said helping those veterans is becoming a challenge every day.
"We're running about two, two and a half months behind on appointments because we don't have enough people here to service the veterans in our area," he said.
Volunteers are vital for the DAV so they can piece together the resources and support for veterans like Richardson.
Despite that, Richardson is grateful this Flag Day. He's thanking those at the DAV and those that sacrificed for the flag.
"If you've ever been in a firefight, there's a lot of confusion, a lot of action going on real fast," Richardson said. "For those who fell in battle while protecting our country, those are the guys who need to be recognized."
If you are interesting in volunteering for the Jacksonville DAV, you can contact them at (501) 241-2095.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the Veteran's Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.