THOMASBORO — This year, you have a new opportunity to help veterans complete their mission. WCIA-3 is again teaming up with Operation Honor Guard to raise money to help them pay for uniforms.

Those men and women volunteer at other veterans’ funerals.

Rich Darby, the non-profit’s organizer, went to a funeral once and saw the mismatched uniforms of those volunteers. He knew he wanted to help, and many others have joined him.

You don’t even have to go inside David Overholt’s home to know he loves his country. His collection of flags is a tribute to one of his passions: the red, white and blue.

“You don’t realize it until you go on and live in some other country, for some reason, but this is the best country on the map,” said Overholt.

He would know. Drafted in 1966, Overholt joined the ranks of the Army.

“Thought for sure I was going to Vietnam,” said Overholt. “For somehow or another, I lucked out and I ended up in Fort Sill, Oklahoma for the Pershing Missile.”

He got sent to Germany, tending to a nuclear weapon, but Overholt says he didn’t mind keeping busy there.

“It beats the other end of the world anytime,” said Overholt.

After considering a career in the service, Overholt came back in ’68. Now he’s part of a different kind of service: the Honor Guard.

“It’s just, to me, very important to give a veteran military rites when he passes,” said Overholt.

Overholt joined us the last couple years for Operation Honor Guard. In the WCIA-3 back parking lot and at a few other locations in Central Illinois, people opened their hearts and their wallets to support veterans.

“It was great to see all the people line up and donate and everything,” said Overholt.

Every donation helps since it can cost $500 or so to pay for one Honor Guard uniform. Overholt says he’s happy to support others who also have a special place in their hearts for his flag and everything it stands for.

Operation Honor Guard is happening earlier this year. It will be Tuesday, October 11. We’ll be collecting donations in Champaign, Danville, Charleston and Paris.

Sister stations in Peoria, Rockford, Quad Cities and Southern Illinois are also helping out. It’s even expanding to other states like Grand Rapids, Michigan and Davenport, Iowa.

Operation Honor Guard helped raise more than $60,000 last year.