The Fayette County Honor Guard is accepting new members to assist with the services it provides to the community.
Those wishing to join the Honor Guard must have been in the military and have received an honorable discharge. Both men and women are welcome. Currently, there are approximately 22 members with two of them being female.
Of those members only two are buglers. This means that even though they try to have two buglers at the services, they may sometimes only have one present when the other isn’t available. So more buglers joining the guard would be appreciated, according to members Glenn Rankin, Paul Sands and David Frederick.
The gentlemen explained that the types of services provided include military funerals, flag presentations, Memorial Day services, Fourth of July, flag folding, flag retirement ceremonies, etc. They typically do over 100 services per year.
“It’s a service to the city and the county,” said Frederick.
According to Frederick, they need approximately 12 members to do certain services “right.” Essentially, this means they have a list of their members and will call until they find the number they need for the given service. So every member won’t have to make it to every event.
“Everything is done by donation,” explained Rankin. “We don’t charge the family anything at all. If they feel like making a donation we accept donations.”
“We’re a combination of all the service clubs in the county,” explained Frederick. “The American Legion, DAV, Am Vets, VFW and the Fayette County Veteran Services Office.”
Many of those groups, according to the gentlemen, used to have their own honor guards however, it was decided to form one entity in order to have enough people to perform the services. Although those groups are represented by different members, volunteers do not have to be a member of those groups to join the Honor Guard.
Volunteers provide their own uniform although the Honor Guard provides the various accessories. Trips are made using a van that was donated by the Southern Ohio Bikers, according to Rankin.
“The reason we do this is because we were trained to serve. In my case, they did this for my father. That’s the reason I joined—because of him and to pay it forward,” said Frederick. “If you ever saw the faces of the people, of the families, then you’ll know why we do this. It touches them in a way that nothing else will. We provide closure. They hear 21 Guns and Taps and it’s over.”
The three gentlemen explained that they currently have a lot of older volunteers, one of which is 86. As all ages are accepted, they explained they would like to get some younger volunteers as their youngest member is approximately 60. The gentlemen said they understand that it can be difficult being a member of the Honor Guard while working a full-time job.
Meetings are held at 9:30 a.m. on the third Thursday of every month at the VFW. Those interested in becoming a volunteer are welcome to join and if they are not a member of the VFW they can be buzzed in for the meeting. Meetings are not held in November or December due to the holidays.
Questions can be directed to Rankin at 740-505-9335 or Sands at 740-323-6416.
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.