The sound of chainsaws, hedge trimmers, weed eaters and lawnmowers echoed through the woods along Alcorn County Road 316 just east of Corinth.

A crew of eight men have converged on a single large yard outside a modest brick home.

An American flag hangs on a large oak tree in the front yard.

There are large piles of trees and brush as these yard warriors attack the morning project to clean up the property and give it a fresh look.

These sweat-soaked volunteers are taking part in the project with one thought in their collective minds.

They intend to give back to a young U.S. Army veteran who served his country.

It’s a small gesture of volunteer labor for several hours to a family man who risked his life in the war on terrorism.

U.S. Navy veteran Mark Houston made the point of the mission quite clear to anyone asking questions about the chainsaw buzz of activity in the spirited yard cleanup effort.

“This is not about us,” said Houston, cutting several small trees away from the residence and nodding his head at the other yard maintenance volunteers. “It’s about that young man right there who served our country. We are simply helping a veteran.”

Houston’s eyes were fixed on the property owner and resident who came out to also offer his help.

U.S. Army Sgt. Josh Moir served his country for six years from 2010-2016 in the war on terrorism. His childhood dream was to someday join the military and serve his county, then the events of Sept. 11 and attack on America weighed heavily on his heart, Moir shared.

“It was a lifelong dream of mine to serve,” admitted Moir, who will turn 30 years old on Oct. 24.

An Alcorn County resident the past six years, the humble veteran who shies away from publicity or attention said he welcomed the offer to help clean up his property.

Standing near the American flag hanging in his yard and providing help himself to haul brush, the Army veteran said he very much appreciated the volunteers giving of their time this past week.

In addition to Mark Houston, the other cleanup band of brothers included Billy English, John Bullard, Bobby McDaniel and Michael Bloom. Jamie Jones of Affordable Tree Care and his crew also showed up to provide heavy equipment and assistant in debris removal. Some of the group are veterans themselves.

McDaniel also said the act of kindness “isn’t about us, it’s about him (Moir).”

“He volunteered to serve to help protect us and risk life and limb,” said McDaniel. “We owe them something.”

The idea of assistance surfaced at a Veterans’ Prayer Breakfast held every Wednesday morning in the Alcorn Baptist Association building.

“There was discussion about a veteran who needed some help with yard work,” said McDaniel. “So the call for help went out. These men just wanted to give back.”

The call got answered. Mission complete.


A 1981 University of Tennessee - Martin graduate, Mark Boehler has over 40 years of journalism experience. His wife Dawn is the love of his life and they share five grown children and 10 grandchildren. His passion is his work - writing and photography.

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