MORGAN CO., Ala. (WAFF) - It all started with a picture...
Heather Collins and her husband were at the Morgan County Archives when they were struck by a photo of Tommy L. Nicholas, an Army private who lost his life serving in Vietnam.
Nicholas, who's now buried at Campground Cemetery, was actually the first of Morgan County's Vietnam casualties.
Heather, having been a volunteer with Wreaths Across America, knew the organization honored veterans and casualties, but by cemetery.
In other words, Wreaths Across America honors our fallen soldiers at Roselawn Cemetery, but only 6 of Morgan County's Vietnam casualties are buried there.
“We just wanted to go a step further and make sure they all got honored," says Collins.
With the help of the archives, they began doing some research to track down all of Morgan County’s Vietnam casualties.
“It wasn’t too long before we had so many people who chimed in and said, ‘We know where this person is… This is my cousin; we know where he is...'" says Morgan County Archivist John Allison.
In total, the team found 23 Morgan County Vietnam casualties. Now, Heather and her husband are on a mission to lay a wreath at each of their gravesites.
They also hope to soon have an American flag at each marker, but they need donations. If you’d like to help, you can call 1-256-227-4104. You can also mail a check to PO Box #5403 Decatur, AL 35602, or you can stop by Peoples Bank in Decatur and give a donation to the Vets Like Us account.
“They’re people,” says Collins. “They gave their lives, for us. That makes me cry. Because they did that, we don’t ever want to forget them or misquote what they are and what they did. So, that’s why we’re here. That’s what we’re doing.”