JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, one out of four dying Americans is a veteran.
Many honor these heroes with flags, salutes, medals and more.
The local division of Disabled American Veterans honors Region 8 veterans in hospice with a commemorative statue to pay tribute to their service.
Seventy-seven-year-old Harold Goodman received the DAV's honor for his service Tuesday.
His friends and family said Goodman is a social butterfly. Goodman said he could not believe he was being recognized, but after he received the statue, he started asking who wanted his autograph.
"It's nice that people will go back in time and remember, you know what I mean? Because, at that time, there were no plaques," Goodman said.
Like many men his age, Goodman was drafted right before the Vietnam war, a time when he said the military was not recognized or appreciated.
"I spent about 17 months in Germany, learned how to be a soldier, although I never had to be in combat. I worked around the base on various projects, you know, whatever was needed. That's what the Army was. Wherever they need you, that's what you do," Goodman said. "I was sent back to the United States and given my release. Served in the Reserves and then was discharged. I'm not sorry that I served. I'm glad that I served."
His service and the G. I. Bill helped him attend Memphis University, where he received a degree in accounting.
"That really helped me find a way to go in life," Goodman said.
This journey led him to his wife.
"She had two children so we've got their wives and grandchildren. They're all looking after me while I'm here in the hospital," Goodman said.
The local Disabled Veterans chapter also looks after Goodman and other Region 8 veterans with this statue program.
"It's a warm spot in my heart to help these guys because so many of them, especially Vietnam, come back and they were ignored," DAV Chapter 26 Commander Billy Cribbs said. "It feels so good to me that we can give back something, just some little something, of what they've done for us. It's not much, but it's a little statue with their name on it and to them, it means the world. And it certainly helps us, too."
"The military protects your freedom. Freedom don't come cheap," Goodman said. "The military is appreciating and remembering people and I think that's just wonderful because, you know, a lot of people go unappreciated. It's nice to be appreciated."
Goodman is now the 32nd veteran to receive one of these commemorative statues.
The Disabled Veterans Chapter 26 in Jonesboro started this program in June with the Flo and Phil Jones Hospice House.
All of these statues are made possible by donations. If you would like to make a donation, call the DAV at 870-935-6904.