Boy honors veterans at cemeteries in California every week
By KAYLA WEBSTER | Glenn County Transcript, Calif. | Published: May 24, 2017
WILLOWS, Calif. (Tribune News Service) — Preston Sharp addresses every veteran by name as he kneels down to place a red carnation and a small American flag by their grave.
As of Monday, the Redding boy has honored 23,000 fallen veterans in this way; and he doesn't plan on stopping until he visits every major cemetery between Redding and Sacramento.
The child and an entourage of friends and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars met at the Willows Cemetery on Monday to pay their respects. Despite the scorching sun, Preston and his team were able to honor more than 100 fallen soldiers.
"Every Sunday without fail, he's at a cemetery honoring veterans," said Rick Phifer, president of the Willows Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxilary. "He even did it on his birthday."
April Sharp, Preston's mom, said her son has been doing this for nearly two years, and she doesn't think he plans on quitting anytime soon. No matter what they have going on, Preston and his family always make time to visit a Northern California cemetery once a week.
"Two Memorial Days ago, I went to the Redding cemetery to honor my grandfather, but I noticed there weren't any flowers on his, or any other veterans', graves and I wanted to do something about it," Preston said. "My mom always says 'if you see something wrong, fix it,' and that's what I'm trying to do."
Preston's efforts attracted the attention of the CBS News; broadcast journalist Steve Hartman traveled all of the way from New York City to interview the young patriot.
"Sometimes I feel like I do the same story, but I've never seen a kid his age do something like this," Hartman said. "I wanted to come and meet him; if we had more kids like him in America, we'd be a better place."
Hartman plans to stay in the area to interview Preston and his family in their home; he said the community could expect to see the special air on CBS during Friday's evening news, and Sunday morning.
At some point, Preston plans to make his way to Sacramento — possibly stopping in Yuba-Sutter and Colusa along the way. He and his family plan which cemeteries to visit on a weekly basis, and announce the destination on Facebook for community members who wish to attend.
All of the flags and flowers placed by Preston and his friends are funded through donations; anyone wishing to contribute can visit his gofundme.com page.