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Honoring Heroes: ACC Professor’s Organization Pays Tribute to Troops

ACC professor Dr. Nancy Glass, left, and ACC student Lauren McIntyre worked together to start Operation Honor Our Heroes.

Dr. Nancy Glass, a professor of allied health science at Austin Community College, grew up in a Gold Star family – the family of a fallen service member. Glass never knew her brother’s father, who was killed during World War II. She does, however, remember being a young girl, looking in a trunk in her brother’s room and seeing all of his father’s belongings.

“I always felt so bad for my brother, because he couldn’t talk about his grief, what he was going through,” Glass says. “But his father was a hero. I wish I could’ve met him.”

Today Glass helps dozens of Gold Star families as well as veterans and active-duty service members through the nonprofit organization Operation Honor Our Heroes. She founded the group in 2007 to assist wounded veterans and honor the fallen.

Glass started the group after Master Sergeant Robert M. Horrigan was killed in Iraq on June 17, 2005. Glass worked with Horrigan’s mother at the time, and she spent the week following his death with his family, helping them in any way she could. She wanted to start Operation Honor Our Heroes after seeing how difficult it was for people to talk about Horrigan to his family.

For Memorial Day 2012, Operation Honor Our Heroes set up nearly 7,000 flags in front of the Long Center for Performing Arts.

“What people don’t understand is that these families want to talk about their loved ones,” Glass says. “I thought it was important to honor all fallen heroes from all states, even if most of the families don’t know about our efforts. Maybe one day they will.”

The group attends all the funerals and memorials of local servicemen and women and makes flags for their families. They also go to community events across Central Texas and team up with other organizations to spread the message of honoring the troops both locally and nationally.

The group’s signature tribute is a sea of flags that tell the personal stories of each service member killed in Iraq and Afghanistan – nearly 7,000 in all.

“We want everyone to know who these special people were, and to provide a little insight into the amazing lives they lived,” says Lauren McIntyre, an ACC student who helped Nancy start the organization. “Our goal is to give back in any way we can to the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

The ACC community has been essential to the success of Operation Honor Our Heroes, Glass says. Warren Heatwole, a professor of building construction technology, supports the group and even brought some of his students to help set up thousands of flags in front of the Long Center for Memorial Day.

Members of Operation Honor Our Heroes at the Dell Diamond.

Even though McIntyre is busy with school and three part-time jobs, she does whatever she can for the group. She and her twin sister manage the database of the fallen and print cards for the flags. It’s tough to balance everything, McIntyre says, but it’s worth it.

“When you’re in school and you’re working, you have to make priorities. I make Operation Honor Our Heroes a priority because I want to do whatever I can to honor the memories of these soldiers,” McIntyre says. “I will make the time for this group, even if it means sacrificing sleep or free time.”

Glass agreed: “I know I’m in the right place, doing the right thing. What matters most to me is that we help the families in any way we can.”

To learn more about Operation Honor Our Heroes, go to honorheroes.org or visit them on Facebook

posted in: ACC Newsroom, Banner Stories


7 Responses to “Honoring Heroes: ACC Professor’s Organization Pays Tribute to Troops”

  1. Henrietta Elston says:

    Hi! I think what ya’ll are doing/done is so wonderful and I would love to contribute. How can I help? Please feel free to contact me.

    • Nancy Glass says:

      Thank you, Henrietta. If you could, please contact me via email and I will send you my contact information. I appreciate your interest in our mission!

  2. Bernie Hinterlong says:

    The first time I met Nancy was as one of her students back in 2003. The first time I helped her set up the display was a real wake up call for me. All of the possibilities that we have lost with the deaths of these young men and women. Speaking as a mother whose son did three tours in Iraq and came home in one piece, this memorial means a lot to me. My eternal gratitude to Dr. Glass for realizing that honoring the fallen is a necessary step for the healing process. Not only as individuals, but as a society. All gave some, and some gave all. God bless you Nancy!

  3. aja koenig says:

    it might have been nice to get monday off… there are a lot of veterans that attend acc.

  4. Lisa (Horrigan) Shine says:

    Thank you Nancy and Lauren! All of your efforts to honor my brother Robert and all the fallen are truly a blessing to others! God Bless You for your hard work!

    Lisa Horrigan Shine,
    Gold Star Sister of MSG Robert M. Horrigan, KIA Iraq, 2005

  5. Kat says:

    Oh my gosh, yes! Nancy Glass was there to honor fallen hero, Sgt. Paul A. Rivera, on October 20th as the flag was raised for the very first time at his parent’s new home. Her and another girl were there, they gave me a U.S. Flag with his picture on it – I was a very close friend of his and his family. They also gave me a card, and on there I saw her name and her titles, and immediately thought it was her, but wasn’t sure. I’ve only ever heard great things about this professor at ACC, and have never had the pleasure of being in one of her classes, but definitely remembered her name! Thank you so much Dr. Nancy Glass for honoring our heroes the way that you do. It meant so much to me that you all were out there, even though you didn’t know who he was. Thank you, again. God Bless you!

  6. mary horrigan says:

    Great picture of you and Lauren. Congratulations for getting this together.