Brian McConnell has been an airline worker for nearly four decades. Much of that time was spent working “the ramp” at the Atlanta airport — the area where aircrafts are refueled, boarded and loaded. But in 2005, after witnessing the work of the Delta Honor Guard — a group of volunteers who handle extremely personal cargo — he found a new calling.

At StoryCorps, Brian told his wife, Nora, about the moment everything changed, and how he’s found a sense of purpose by honoring the military’s fallen.

This story was recorded in partnership with Delta Air Lines.

Top Photo: Nora and Brian McConnell at their StoryCorps interview in Atlanta, Georgia on April 14, 2016. By Morgan Feigal-Stickles for StoryCorps.

Originally aired October 17, 2020, on NPR’s Weekend Edition.