Hampstead community writes messages in honor of hometown hero - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Hampstead community writes messages in honor of hometown hero

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Sign outside the Village Cafe & Deli in Hampstead Sign outside the Village Cafe & Deli in Hampstead

HAMPSTEAD, NC (WECT) - While thousands of men have died fighting the war in Afghanistan, Sgt. TJ Butler's death at the hands of a suicide bomber has shaken the Hampstead community in Pender county.

Now, business owners are making sure everyone who drives through town will understand the ultimate sacrifice Sgt. Butler made.  They are leaving messages of thanks and prayer on the signs outside their doors.

"His death has affected everyone at the restaurant," said Gary Hinrichs, owner of The Village Café & Deli. "I think it's really important we remember him."

The tribute is especially important to Hinrichs, his son spent one year fighting in Afghanistan.

"My son was 28 so he's close in age, it could be any one of our sons," said Hinrichs.

Outside his restaurant, he's flying his flag at half staff, which he says is a reminder that the 'cost of freedom is not free."

"I feel like some people just forget a war is even going on and these young men are making tremendous sacrifices as are their families," said Hinrichs.

He says he's glad to see his community coming together and showing support for one of their own.

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