NORTHVILLE TWP., Mich. (WJBK) - "When Desert Storm started in the '90s, I was playing baseball at Western Michigan. I thought, oh my gosh, here I am playing baseball and my buddies that I went to high school are over fighting a war. From that point on, I had a huge amount of respect for them."
That respect and admiration has inspired Bill Flohr to serve those who served our country.
As Northville High's School baseball assistant coach, for the last nine years he has organized Armed Forces Day. The baseball program hosts several events to raise money that goes toward homes for our troops and to support soldiers and their families.
"On Armed Forces Day, they meet families. They wear the names of the families on their backs and they interact. To see 17-year-old kids not with phones in their hands and interact with a veteran's family who was killed in action or is deployed right now, it is amazing," Bill says.
This year for the first time, the Remembering Our Fallen Memorial will be on display honoring soldiers who have lost their lives in combat since 9/11.
What started as a symbolic decoration has now become a patriotic mission. Bill is collecting combat boots for homeless veterans. From May 16 through the 19 at Northville High School, all of the combat boots donated will line the path to the remembering our fallen photographic war memorial. Bill then plans to donate the boots to the Michigan Veterans Foundation and Love a Michigan Veteran.
"We reached out to them, they said absolutely we will take them; we will make sure you can actually come and hand them over to some of these homeless veterans, which will be great," Bill says.
Bill might not have gone to war, but he wants to make sure our soldiers are taken care of whether they are still serving our country - or not.
"That's kind of why we do it," he says. "We don't want to forget them, we want to support them. It seems after they serve everyone forgets them, but it seems that's when they really need it most of all."
For more information go to http://www.nhsarmedforcesday.com/.