CONTENT PROVIDED BY HORAN & MCCONATY
Volunteer Honor Guards provide military honors for deceased veterans when the military is unable. These men and women need assistance to continue supporting veterans and their families.
Horan & McConaty is a familiar name in the Denver area. These locally-owned, family-run funeral homes have been part of the community for more than 120 years and have earned a reputation for giving back. Now, they’re asking for your help, as they work with Operation Honor Guard to raise funds for a very worthy cause.
Honor guard members are volunteers who supplement the military and provide honors at the family’s request. These volunteers, veterans themselves, receive no compensation, provide their own uniforms, equipment and travel, and brave all sorts of weather conditions, just to make sure our fallen veterans receive the honors they deserve.
DONATE NOW: online at HoranCares.com/honorguard, in person at any of the seven Horan & McConaty locations, or send checks payable to Operations Honor Guard, Horan & McConaty, PO Box 440590 Aurora, CO 80044.
Two of Colorado’s Honor Guards are All Veterans Honor Guard and Longmont American Legion Post #32 Honor Guard.
Dick Kounovsky, of the American Legion Honor Guard in Longmont, says their group of 25 volunteers stays busy. “We provide military honors for deceased veterans, and we do that about 110-120 times each year. We also go to schools and retirement homes to do flag talks, and on Veteran’s Day we lead the parade.”
According to Kounovsky, this is part of the four pillars on which the American Legion was established: fostering a strong national security, taking care of veterans, mentoring young people and promoting patriotism and honor.
The Longmont Honor Guard stays very busy and tries to stay local if possible, but there are so few Honor Guards in the area that they end up putting quite a few miles on their bus and their uniforms.
These men and women donate their time and bear the costs of their uniforms, transportation, and equipment. Operation Honor Guard seeks to assist these volunteers by providing funds to conduct military funerals for veterans and service members, to raise awareness of the role of volunteer veteran honor guards, and to encourage more veterans to become involved and support this important mission.
Morey Smith is the coordinator of the All Veterans Honor Guard, which is composed of five teams in the area. He’s also Commander of the Aurora Honor Guard, which has about 25 members, but because most of the members are in their 70s or 80s, there are often only about 10 available at any given time.
“There aren’t enough of us to go around,” Smith said. “It’s an honor to do what we do, and we’re happy to do it. It’s truly a noble cause. We’re all volunteers, and the thanks we get is the appreciation of the families we serve.”
Smith says he coordinated 1,054 services last year, and sometimes they do 7-8 in one day. The service is about twelve minutes long, with some short speeches, after which the Honor Guard fires a rifle salute, plays taps, and two active duty members fold and present the flag to the family.
In the past year, families have had the option of requesting the Honor Bell and if that’s the case, the bell tolls at the end of the service.
Commissioned in 2016, the Honor Bell is a 1,000 pound bronze forged instrument, created by veterans, and funded by donations. It’s rung by the Bell Honor Guard, and its mission, says Executive Director/Founder Louis Olivera, is to honor deceased veterans.
“No veteran should ever be buried without honor,” Olivera said. “Whether they served for 3 years or retired after 30, they deserve honor. Whether they served overseas or never left the states, they deserve honor. Whether they fought for our nation in combat or served her with dignity during peacetime, they deserve honor.”
That’s why, from November 6th through November 11th, Horan & McConaty will host an Operation Honor Guard fundraiser, to benefit volunteer veteran honor guards who serve the greater metro area. The public is invited to make monetary donations, which will be used to support the needs of veteran honor guards and their members.
Horan & McConaty is dedicated to helping and honoring veterans. Says John Horan, President of Horan & McConaty, “I’ve seen these men and women, all volunteers, provide stirring tributes to veterans on the hottest and coldest days of the year. They seem honored to serve and do a great job. Survivors of the veterans are deeply moved by the rifle salute, playing of taps, and the folding and presentation of the flag. These honor guards need our financial support and they need more members. We are delighted to raise funds and increase awareness to support this important mission.”
For more information about how you can help, you can visit the Horan & McConaty website at HoranCares.com/honorguard. You can also learn more about Operation Honor Guard by visiting OperationHonorGuard.us, and for more information about the Honor Bell, you can check out HonorBell.org.
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