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A retired military veteran was saddened to discover something precious in his garbage truck on his normal route — and he did something about it.

John Shields, a retired Chief Petty Officer, said he noticed what he thought was a pizza box going into the back of his garbage truck when he made a stop at Billings Army Reserve in Billings, Mont.

Instead, it was an American flag.

“It hurts me to see this happen because until you walk up to the house and have to tell a mother that her son is dead; until you’ve stood over a casket and folded that flag; until you’ve been presented, which I’ve been presented with one before or you have to present one,” Shields said, according to KULR8.

“It takes a different spin on things. You take it to heart.”

Shields took the flag to a local VFW for proper disposal. The military base could not provide comment on the matter, telling KULR8 they were “looking into” the incident.

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