PEORIA, IL (KTRK) --Larr Eckhardt travels the country creating American flag displays to honor fallen soldiers and first responders, but this week he came home to pay tribute to a fallen hero who grew up just down the road from him.
"I regret it. I never got to know the young man and I get to meet the people that knew him and that tells you how great a guy he was," Eckhardt told WEEK-TV.
Sergeant Doug Riney was killed in Afghanistan last week, and on Friday his body will arrive back home. Eckhardt and close to 80 other volunteers spent Thursday lining Riney's procession route with thousands of american flags.
"I think it symbolizes that we care about them and that we as a community have been sticking together really well lately," said volunteer Rosie Pattterson.
The procession will go from the Air National Guard base in Peoria to the Sedgwick Funeral Home in Canton.
The volunteers plan to surround the family through this gesture of love.
"Just to know that we care and if there's anything they needed, we'd sure try to help them," said volunteer Teresa Knott.