Local vet maintains veterans' final resting place

ELOY, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- A local veteran is honoring other veterans who've come and served before him by making sure their final resting place is well kept and maintained.

"We need to also recognize those that have passed on. They're still veterans in death," said John Meyer with American Legion Post 97.

Meyer, an Army veteran, spent his morning restoring the bronze marker of World War II Navy veteran Henry Ybarra.

"We miss them everyday," said Henry Ybarra Jr. "We love them so much. My dad taught me everything."

Once the restoration work is complete, places a flag by the marker and salutes. Meyer decided to make this his mission a few years ago, while attending a funeral.

"I was looking around at other veterans' grave sites, and noticed how unkept they were, so it really saddened me," said Meyer.

Since then, Meyer has restored countless markers with the help of Core Civic and the American Legion Post 97 in San Tan Valley.

"I've learned history from them and what they fought and what it meant, and meeting their families and how they carry on," said Meyer. "It brings a joy to me, because after I pass, hopefully someone will do this for me as well."

This act of kindness also brings joy to the families of the veterans who've come before.

"We never forget. It's really nice that we put it in motion, that the ones from the past we bring them back to life," said Richard Sites.

"We have to thank the lord for all of this, and for them for taking care of us and protecting us. Miss him," said Ybarra Jr.

Meyer trains other veterans how to restore the markers. He says it's very therapeutic for those suffering from PTSD.