SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. – While emergency crews began to clean the debris left by wildfires, a Tennessee police officer found something beautiful and untouched in the rubble — an American flag.

“When I saw the flag laying underneath the debris, I felt that it was the right thing to do, as far as that goes. I did not want to see it there and let it burn,” said Officer Jordan Henderson.

Henderson saw the flag and knew in his heart he had to do something

“I originally saw it and folded it up and was going to take it with me, and then I was looking at the Gatlinburg sign and I figured it would be best to keep it here at home, so I cleaned it up and hung it up there.”

The sign that welcomed millions of people to one of America’s most beloved tourist cities is now the sign of a city that will need to be rebuilt. Henderson says during the last few days he’s seen things that he’ll never forget.

“Kind of took me back a little bit, because I was seeing people’s entire lives that were being taken away,” Henderson said. “After taking that in and absorbing that, it was a little heartbreaking realizing what you’re actually looking at.”