Vietnam veteran George Collins is buried at Brown Cemetery in Morehead. His widow, Karen Collins, makes daily trips here to visit his gravesite. But once recent trip left her shocked.
"I got out and looked and just got deathly sick," she says.
Mrs. Collins says symbol of freedom that had once flown proudly over the decorated soldier's grave was gone.
"I stopped there after work and they had sawed the PVC pipe off and taken the flagpole. It was just devastating to me," she says.
Army Specialist George Collins was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with Valor and received the Purple Heart twice for his service in Vietnam. Mrs. Collins says the idea that someone could do this to a man who'd sacrificed for his country is shocking.
"To think they would go there and take a flagpole and take the flag, that's just beyond me. It's just very devastating," she says.
And she worries that flagpole thefts like this will increase as people look for more ways to cash in on scrap metal.
"This is going to happen over and over again. I feel like it's just the beginning," she says.
Mrs. Collins says she's looking into putting cameras nearby to keep watch over her husband's grave. She says the flag and pole were worth more than $300.