Every Veterans Day in the Bridgeland community, residents gather in front of a 12-by-8-foot American flag and listen in silence as the names are read of all the veterans who served in the U.S. military and live in or have ties to Bridgeland families.

The ceremony has been hosted by the local nonprofit The Bridgeland Community Supports Veterans since 2012. Leading up to the event each year, the group gathers submissions from the community of the names of veterans to be recognized. Photos of each veteran are posted on boards and placed in the shape of a Victory V.

Since the inaugural event, the number of boards has grown from 10 to 40, said Kay Burkhalter, who serves on the nonprofit’s board.

“People come by, and they read, and they’ll show their children,” she said. “People come up to me in tears afterward. The simple act of reading a name out loud is a way of saying, ‘we will not forget you.’”

What started out as a small group of people trying to bring a sense of patriotism to Bridgeland has grown into a full-fledged nonprofit dedicated to honoring veterans and raising awareness about their sacrifices. In addition to the Veterans Day event, the group hosts a Memorial Day event that involves saying a prayer and placing ribbons that represent loved ones who were killed in action.

Members also meet biannually with residents at Houston’s Camp Hope, a Houston-based nonprofit that houses veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. The Bridgeland team organizes a group of people to bring a homemade picnic to the veterans and spend the afternoon playing card games and talking with them.

“These veterans often don’t have a lot of contact with outsiders,” Burkhalter said. “Just listening to what they have to say means a lot to them.”

On Oct. 19, the group will host its annual fundraiser, the Bridgeland Community Fun Run/Walk For Heroes. Funds raised go toward the group’s ultimate goal: the development of a veterans memorial park in Bridgeland. Designed by Walt Bohn—the nonprofit’s treasurer who served in the U.S. Army for 10 years as a captain—the park would feature a memorial with the names of veterans as well as information about the various conflicts in U.S. history.

The park’s educational components are relevant to the group’s overall mission, Board Chairperson Shane Bueno said.

“We don’t want it to just be a memorial; we also want it to serve as an educational piece for the children and people in our community,” Bueno said. “We want to make sure we have the premier veteran memorial in Harris County.”