(FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan.) Hundreds of volunteers placed wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers at the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America on Saturday.
But organizers singled out one man for a special surprise. Glenn Dyer was awarded a gold star in honor of his brother's service and death during the Vietnam war. American Gold Star families are immediate relatives of a fallen member of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Dyer and his brother both served in the Vietnam war. Dyer was a Medevac crew member and recovered his brother's body during the war. The gold star was awarded by Medal of Honor recipient, Charles Hagemeister.
"The recognition of the people who have lost kin, brother, sisters in service to their country is very important," Hagemeister said.
Dyer said he was humbled by the award.
"I have honored my mother and father as gold star parents but I had never received anything like this myself," Dyer said.
The surprise was organized by Dyer's wife and Wreaths Across America coordinator Diana Pitts.
"It was a complete surprise to him the whole time, which is not an easy task to keep from him," Pitts said. "It’s a heart’s work to honor each one, and every one, and thank them for their service."
The ceremony also included a presentation of wreaths. Dyer was one of the presenters. Wreaths representing every branch of military service, as well as ones honoring prisoners of war, those missing in action, and those who’ve died by suicide laid out in front of the crowd.