By Asha Anchan, News21
Howard Love calls his 9-year-old grandson the most patriotic youngster he knows. Connor Love, wearing his Army hat and camo Vans, just listens.
Five years ago, he and his grandpa were sipping their weekly coffee at Starbucks – Connor takes his with milk and a few drops of coffee – when the boy pointed across the street and asked his grandfather what the flags and flowers meant.
He took Connor to Mariposa Gardens Memorial Park in Mesa, Ariz., where the two happened upon the grave of Army Cpl. Jeremiah W. Robinson, a Mesa native who was killed by an improvised explosive device in late 2005.
Connor noticed that the gravesite wasn’t very well kept. He didn’t know Robinson, but he straightened the flag and cleaned the graveside bench.
Now Connor is a regular at Mariposa Gardens; nearly every Saturday he says, “Let’s go check his flag.”
He and his grandfather do good deeds to honor the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Howard Love supports 11 troops in Iraqi and Afghan combat zones by sending bi-weekly packages that include items such as socks and snacks.
Last year Love spent $13,000 collecting items and shipping them to the troops. It’s an investment, he said, and he’s proud of his grandson for being so invested as well.
Love calls Connor an “old soul” – quiet, collected and mature for his age.
Sometimes when they’re in the car and the words Iraq or Afghanistan make it into a newscast, Connor pipes in, “Did we lose anyone?”
“People don’t really think he understands what he’s doing, but I think he understands more than people give him credit for,” Love said. “He knows there’s a war, and he knows there’s guys that go and don’t come back.”