Solemn ceremony honors Texoma Hero in Bonham - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Solemn ceremony honors Texoma Hero in Bonham

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Flags are placed at the grave of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Shank in Bonham. (KTEN) Flags are placed at the grave of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Shank in Bonham. (KTEN)
Staff Sgt. Michael Allen Shank was 31 when he died in Afghanistan in 2006. (Courtesy) Staff Sgt. Michael Allen Shank was 31 when he died in Afghanistan in 2006. (Courtesy)
The ceremony to honor Staff Sgt. Michael Shank was organized by the Texoma Hero Program. (KTEN) The ceremony to honor Staff Sgt. Michael Shank was organized by the Texoma Hero Program. (KTEN)

BONHAM, Texas -- U.S. Army veteran Staff Sgt. Michael Allen Shank was honored by friends, family, and comrades-in-arms Friday at the Willow Wild Cemetery in Bonham.

Shank died in 2006 while serving in Afghanistan. He was 31 years old.

The tribute was organized by the Texoma Hero Program to honor his service and many successes.

"It's very emotional at times," said Billy Teague, founder of the program. "I've had vets tell me they feel like their lives have been saved because they went through a lot during combat."

Sgt. Shank was recognized with a Bronze Star and Purple Heart along with more than 15 other awards.

His ceremony was special because it was done posthumously. Other ceremonies the organization holds are different.

"They come home and we recognize them in these ceremonies," Teague explained. "It's kind of a release for them, and they are able to move forward knowing that we love them."

The staff at Willow Wild Cemetery was pleased to play a role in Friday's service.

"We are more than honored and grateful that we were able to participate in this today... for this hero... and for this community," said cemetery spokesman Lou Ashmore. 

She added added of the 10,000 people who are buried at the facility, that nearly 1,000 are military veterans.

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