SULLIVAN, Mo. – Members of both The Flagman’s Mission Continues and Sullivan Christian Church put up flags to recognize fallen MetroLink security guard 30-year-old James Cook.
“You’ve got to show respect for his service and that’s what we do,” said Jeff Hastings, head of The Flagman’s Mission Continues.
Cook was gunned down Jan. 31 while working security at the Delmar Loop MetroLink Station.
“It’s a way to bring the community together and give the community the tools, the flags, the equipment, so they can pay tribute and respect to a fallen hero,” Hastings said.
They put up flags in Cook’s hometown of Steelville as well as the last place he called home – Sullivan, Missouri.
“We put up 500 in Steelville…and then we plan on putting about 1.500 here if we get enough volunteers,” Hastings said.
Hastings says he is continuing the work of his friend Larry “The Flagman” Eckhardt, who died in March 2020. Eckhardt would travel the country honoring the memories of veterans and those in uniform.
Meanwhile, Kellis Richardson, one of Cook’s old friends, helped with the flag tribute but says the situation has been difficult to fathom.
“It’s a shame that you go through what you go through in the military and then something like that happens here; you don’t expect it,” he said.
Richardson contacted Sullivan city officials who agreed to lower city flags to half-staff in Cook’s honor.
“I got the VFW…They’re going to put out a couple hundred flags out in front of the VFW today or tomorrow, but before Tuesday,” Richardson said.
A visitation is being held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at Hutson Funeral Home in Steelville, Missouri. There will be another visitation from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesday at Sullivan Christian Church. His funeral service will follow immediately and be streamed live on Facebook.
Meanwhile, BackStoppers has pledged $50,000 to help the family with expenses. A GoFundMe account has already reached $158,000 as of Sunday night, and various organizations, including Rebound 911, are helping provide care packages and other items for the Cook family.