MESA, AZ — Laying America’s heroes to rest is a big responsibility.
“When you're at a veterans funeral, it hits you every time,” said Hilary Samples while planting flags at gravesites Friday. "Taps starts playing, the flag is handed over to loved ones. It's emotional."
Samples is the Marketing Director at Mountain View Funeral Home and has the honor of making that final goodbye as perfect as possible. More than 3,000 of them are buried on the grounds.
“We owe them that respect, all that they did for us for all of the freedoms we have today,” said Samples.
A respect her team not only shows in death but makes it their mission to do the same for those who remain.
“We’re very community-driven and we want to keep that going, we’re all about spreading kindness, we want people to know that we care,” said Samples.
They’re doing it with their annual hygiene and clothing drive. Everything donated by the community eventually ends up in the hands of homeless veterans across the Valley.
“For the service they provided to our country they deserve better than that,” said Army veteran Ken Stosel.
Stosel is with Dolce Vita, a local military support organization. He’s made it his mission to get the word out about the drive. He urges the community to drop off gently used clothing, shoes, sandals, toiletry items, and sunscreen to Moutain View Funeral Home before Monday. They’ll then distribute the items after Memorial Day.
“People that provide this have opened up their hearts and they understand the needs of our veterans, and they give and they continue to give,” said Stosel.
It’s a meaningful and lasting partnership. One built upon a universal understanding that freedom is not free. And those who make it so, deserve all we can give in gratitude for their sacrifice.
If you're interested in donating, the funeral home's address is: 7900 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85207