CROSBY, TX (KTRK) --A Crosby mother received an unexpected gift of honor from a military family in more than 100 miles away in Southeast Texas.
It all started with a trip to a flea market near Orange Texas. Lanie and Walter Brown saw a number of American Flags at a booth. One stood out.
"It was folded like you would fold a towel or something," said Lanie Brown.
Upon opening the flag, Brown said she noticed the flag had a messages written on it. Those messages were meant for Lance Corporal Fred Lee Maciel, who died in the line of duty in Fallujah in 2005.
"I told my husband - this needs to be home with his mom," said Brown.
Brown said she knew exactly what she needed to do, so she purchased the flag for five dollars. When she got home, she started a social media investigation, hunted down Mariel mother in Crosby, and reached out.
"She couldn't believe that we would go to the trouble to find her," said Brown.
Patsy Maciel said she wasn't sure if the phone call was a prank or the real thing. After seeing pictures of the flag, it hit her. The flag was a tribute to Maciel from his troop.
"I got peace in my heart. I'm happy," said Maciel. "It will be with me till the day I die."
On Saturday, nine years after Maciel was buried in Calvary Hill Cemetery, his family and friends gathered once again to receive the tribute flag. Brown presented the flag to Patsy. They hugged and cried.
Patsy said she's not sure why the tribute flag did not make it to you sooner. She said that doesn't matter. Pasty said what matters is that she now has the flag, and is now in a place in her life where she can receive it.
"I was telling my sister a couple of months ago I was scared I was going to forget what he looks like and then Fred said, no you are not mom. Boom. He's all over the TV. Pictures of my son," said Maciel.
Maciel said she plans on putting the flag in a glass frame. She said she hope the marines who signed the flag will reach out to her as well, so that she can personally thank them.