VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - A Valdosta business is helping a devoted father keep his fallen son's memory alive with a permanent memorial.
"My heart is heavy and full of pain, but I try to keep that at bay," said Frankie Gay.
Frankie Gay lost his son Corporal Pruitt Allen Rainey on July 13, 2008.
Nine men from 503rd Infantry, 2nd Battalion known as the "Chosen Few" died in the Battle of Wanat in Afghanistan. 26 men were surrounded by 300 Taliban and attacked for eight hours. 17 were also wounded.
Gay has since made it his life's mission to put up flags at houses and businesses in their honor.
"That's my peace. That's how I deal with it, you know with the loss of a son," Gay explained. "He only had 11 day's before coming home and everyday that I put up a flag, I think of him and all the other soldiers."
His father says the one thing he remembers from the day his body was brought home was the flag on his son's casket.
"When you see your son come off of that airport and that casket's covered with a flag, it's tough," he said. "And it'll make an imprint on you for the rest of your life."
Debbie and Danny Hall of Triple H Mobile Home Parts are celebrating 20 years of business today. They thought the eight by twelve flag on a 35 foot pole was an ideal way to honor those soldiers.
"We decided we wanted to do a flag, we got in contact with him and he was doing it in honor of his son the one that got killed," said Debbie and Danny Hall.
Debbie and Danny have known Gay since he was eight years old. He considered it an honor that the Halls wanted to to install the flag as a permanent memorial to the "Chosen Few."
"My way of giving back is just to put a flag up to say thank you and that way we can remember them for the rest of their lives," said Hall.