Preston Sharp Honors Veterans Every Day

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Preston Sharp has a dream.  You probably have heard about this 12-year-old boy.  If not, you need to know him.

Preston Sharp.

I met with Preston Wednesday at the Redding Memorial Park during an afternoon with others who’d volunteered to place flags and red carnations on veterans’ graves.

Volunteers helped Preston Sharp place flags and flowers on veterans’ graves Wednesday.

The story behind Preston Sharp’s passion to recognize veterans

Just after Preston turned 10, he went to the cemetery to visit his grandfather’s grave on Veteran’s Day. Preston noticed that many of the veterans’ graves were not honored with flags or flowers, and that upset him.  His mother told him not to complain, to do something if he felt so strongly.

So Preston started placing flags and red carnations on veterans’ graves in Redding, something that has spread to several states across the nation.  This year alone, Preston has traveled to 10 states to place flags and flowers on veterans’ graves.  Saturday he leaves for New Orleans, and this summer Preston is scheduled to visit five states.  His goal, his dream – is to place flags and flowers on veterans’ graves in every state.

To help with his goal, Preston has created the Flag And Flower challenge.  He challenges everyone, on any given day, to place a 12-x-18 flag and red carnation on a veteran’s grave.  When you do, Preston asks that you say the veteran’s name out loud and thank the veteran for his or her service.

A volunteer salutes a veteran’s grave as other volunteers place flags and flowers on veterans’ burial sites.

Preston then asks that you take a picture of yourself by the gravestone, showing the flag and flower, then post the picture on social media: #fandfchallenge.

Preston’s motto is to ‘Honor Veterans Every Day, And Not Just On a Holiday’.  So any day of the year, Preston challenges people to visit a cemetery and honor veterans.  You can get detailed information on his Facebook page.

Preston asked me if I am a veteran.  I told him yes, that I’d served in Vietnam.  He shook my hand and thanked me for my service with a beautiful smile.  I was so impressed.  His smile told me, ‘I sincerely appreciate your service.’

Preston is without doubt dedicated to honoring veterans.  He is an incredible young man.  Someone on the Preston Sharp team told me his goal when he grows up is to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  Preston would make an outstanding Secretary.  He would go above and beyond to support our veterans. He already is.

Preston has honored more than 55,000 veterans.  And with the upcoming five states, he hopes to honor more than 75,000 more.  He is asking for donations to help him reach his goal.  Preston says every three bucks counts! Also, to help raise money, the Preston Sharp team is selling T-shirts for $20 and commemorative Preston Sharp numbered coins for $25.

I asked Preston about visiting Washington and meeting President Trump and the First Lady.  He told me they are amazing.  He said they were friendly, nice and soft-spoken.  He was thrilled to sit next to Melania Trump during the State of the Union address. 

And he was excited to sit down with the First Lady and Second Lady of the United States.  He had the opportunity before the State of the Union address to sit with them both in a room at the Capital and have a private conversation.  Preston said it was just the three of them, no Secret Service, which he said he really enjoyed.

Preston has been to the White House three times now.  Melania Trump gave Preston a personal invitation to join her for her “Be Best” campaign that she launched on May 7 in the Rose Garden, which was when Preston was honored to meet again with the First Lady and the President of the United States at the White House.

Steve DuBois
For many years Steve DuBois has enjoyed taking photos of his dogs in interesting and unusual places. He created a photo book of his dogs especially for the children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he donated several copies. He loves that the kids enjoy seeing his dogs photographed in unusual ways. Steve says his dogs have been his photographic inspiration and motivation, but sometimes he tries his hand at nature shots, such as the photos he captured of the north state’s 2017 flooding, published here on A News Steve DuBois lives in Redding.
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8 Responses

  1. Preston I am so proud of you! Thank You for all you do!
    I am a disabled veteran and have recovered by inspiration from many
    people just like yourself. Today I help and train people to work from home
    and have a special place in my heart for veterans. Sometimes being able to help
    others helps us to grow and to feel good about ourselves again. Keep on inspiring
    others and thank you for your support!

  2. Avatar Marvin D. Moon says:

    What a magnificent and honorable undertaking. You are a leader and inspiration to others. Keep up the good work and remember the Marines say it is never “if” but rather “How” we accomplish tasks and goals.

  3. Avatar 0.0001 says:

    I humbly present an opposing viewpoint. First, I want to thank every veteran for their service to our country.
    To me, this whole affair with little Preston smacks of adult manipulation of a child. It seems to me that the flag wavers are just fanning the flames of the blue/red divide, grandstanding. Preston is just the same as Trump’s token black man as far as Trump is concerned, fodder for the political machine. Preston said Trump was “amazing, nice and soft-spoken”. Has Preston even seen Trump on TV? Heard him speak? Preston, check out what Trump had to say about Rosie O’donell and tell me again, what is nice about that? We all know that Trump is not a nice person, he is a disgrace to the office he holds. His poor wife, Trump with all the porn stars just after Melanie gave birth. Preston all the flag placement is hollow and has no substance. All the funding your team generates could really do some good if it were re directed to helping veterans instead of funding fluff.

    • I try to use my handy cafeteria tray when it comes to this subject. I can compartmentalize the section with Preston, the kid who started this project to honor veterans before Trump became president. I’ve met Preston and his mom, and both seem sincere, and I think their motivation to honor veterans is genuine.

      In another section, perhaps where the canned peas might sit, is the place where Trump’s public relations team took advantage of an opportunity to capitalize on this patriotic child. What’s more appealing than a good kid doing good for his community and country? How cute did Preston look sitting next to Melania Trump?

      I don’t blame Preston if he’s twitterpated and star-struck by the trips to D.C. and visits with the president, First Lady and dignitaries. I mean come on, he’s a kid, and he’s worked hard, and it would difficult for anyone to not get caught up in the hype and celebrity of it all. Nor do I blame Preston if he’s not kept up with Trump the man, or his politics.

      I humbly submit that while I understand where you’re coming from, I wince when you say that Preston’s flag-placement actions are hollow, and without substance. It’s his passion, his thing, and for whatever reason – maybe starting with that day at his grandfather’s grave – it was important to him that all veterans’ graves had flowers and flags. What’s the harm in that?

      And who’s to say that the money Preston has raised for his cause should be directed to other veterans’ services? He’s raised it for this cause. Others can raise money for their causes.

      We are all on this planet with opportunities and interests, whether it’s helping pick up trash, eradicating invasive weeds, caring for the homeless, helping abused animals or putting flags and flowers on veterans’ graves … and on and on.

      I say let Preston have this time in the limelight, without dragging Trump and politics into it.

  4. Steve Du Bois Steve Du Bois says:

    What she said. Perfectly put, Doni. I’m proud of what you said and I honor it.

  5. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Ditto Bruce and Steve. Your writing and logic are well placed, Doni.

  6. Avatar Karen C says:

    0.0001, “adult manipulation?” I certainly hope so. Mom should be there to guide him, each step along the way. Sure, she has to drive him too, assist him, or wait while he does his thing. If more parents were there to manipulate their children, some children would be better off for it. I did a lot of manipulating, some obvious, some not. All three turned out just fine!