BURKETT, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Big Country is a military-saturated area and most people do what they can to honor those who have served. Sometimes, that is by burying them in their uniform after they pass, but what do families do with the uniform if their loved ones are cremated?
KTAB/KRBC spoke to a mother in the Big Country whose son was cremated, but one woodworker helped her find the perfect way to honor her son and his uniform.
Stephanie Brown said her son, Bradly Reese Haile, served in the Air Force, but was killed in a car accident when he was only 19 years old. He passed away on September 30, 2019, on the base he was stationed at.
“His body was in such bad condition when we received it, that cremation was really our only alternative,” Brown explained.
Because of this, he was not able to be buried in his uniform. Brown spent the last two years trying to find what she calls the ‘final resting place’ for her sons uniform so it didn’t have to stay in a garment bag in her closet.
She met Jason Sparks, veteran and owner of a woodworking shop, Petrified Truth.
“I was in the marine corps from 1990-1994, with my dad being a marine veteran and now my son,” Sparks explained.
Together, they were able to find the perfect forever home to honor Bradley’s uniform.
“This was to honor the uniform that my son was so proud to wear and he looked so handsome in it,” Brown expressed.
Because Sparks had served, he knew the importance of honoring a uniform, so he paid attention to every detail.
“We wanted it to not take away from the uniform. You know, the uniform needed to be the main focus, and once they see the uniform, then they can go around and see the rest of the details,” Sparks said.
He mentioned, while getting choked up, that the uniform is important, because of the sacrifice that comes with it.
“Just the sacrifice that we understand that people make when they sign up in the military,” Sparks said.
Sparks is willing to help other families that are dealing with something similar, because he said he feels like he can connect to people who have loved ones who have served. Brown said there are a lot more people dealing with it than you would think.
“So many people, unfortunately, can relate to what we are going through and this is such a good way to honor a loved one,” Brown expressed.
Brown believes this display case help turn a tragic situation into something beautiful and she believes Petrified Truth can help other families too. If you would like to place an order through Petrified Truth, Sparks said to do so through their social media.