Flag-carrying boy honors his father at H&H
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes it’s the story behind the picture that tells the bigger story.
Most people watching the Hootin an Hollarin parade Saturday afternoon were probably unaware of the story behind the little blond-haired boy carrying a small American flag and walking with the Timber Knob Volunteer Fire Department Honor Guard. But his family and those walking with him knew exactly what they were witnessing.
Isaiah Ralston, 3, was honoring his father.
Cody Ralston died Jan. 8 in a Boone County, Arkansas, house fire. Ralston, a former firefighter with Timber Knob VFD and a member of the Ozark County Honor Guard, was attempting to save his next-door neighbor’s dogs when he died.
Although Ralston was not serving as an official firefighter at the time of his death, the Ozark County Honor Guard presented his son Isaiah with a fallen firefighter purple flag during his father’s memorial service.
Isaiah lives in Ozark County with his mother and stepfather, William and Kristina Hill, and his sisters Serenity, Keely, Kassy and little brother William.
“He is doing very well,” said Isaiah’s grandmother Dawn Joslin. “He is enrolled in Head Start, and he loves his teachers and going to school.”
Joslin, a volunteer with Timber Knob VFD and a member of the honor guard, is Kristina Hill’s mother. Isaiah walked the entire parade route beside his grandmother, who carried the American flag.
“He loved being in the parade and tells me he is going to do it again, that it was fun,” said Joslin. “I was thinking how cool it would be for him to walk with the honor guard who presented him with the fallen firefighter flag. What better way to honor his dad.”
When Isaiah readily agreed to walk in the parade, Joslin initially thought he would walk for a block or two. His mother, stepfather and siblings sat in the Town & Country Supermarket, about halfway along the parade route, “just in case he was too bashful,” said Joslin.
“I really didn’t think he was going to do the whole parade. He sure surprised me.”
Joslin said despite the tragedy in Isaiah’s life he is thriving with the support of his family.
“I am so proud of him.”