WATE 6 On Your Side partners with Operation Honor Guard

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — East Tennesseans raised more than $40,000 on Wednesday to support Operation Honor Guard.

Almost every day of the year, you’ll find a group of volunteer veterans standing guard, performing a military service at a veteran’s funeral in East Tennessee. The volunteers are members of the Honor Guard. Their goal is to pay respect to their departed comrades by helping at funerals.

WATE 6 On Your Side partnered with Operation Honor Guard and Rose Mortuary in supporting the Volunteer State Veterans Honor Guard and East Tennessee Veterans Honor Guard.

Honor Guard members serve in all weather conditions, provide military rites and more at funerals.

The original goal was to raise $25,000 to help Honor Guard members continue their mission, but the generosity of East Tennesseans allowed that goal to be raised to $40,000 during the day, which was exceeded!  A grand total of $40,949 was raised.

Many costs are associated with funeral services, including the cost of uniforms, transportation, ammunition for the 21-gun salute and flags. Also, it costs $125 for the Honor Guard to dispatch and serve at a funeral. It can take around $800 to uniform one member of the Honor Guard.

Operation Honor Guard is a national nonprofit organization that fundraises for groups providing support to military funerals for veterans and service members. It was founded in Illinois in 2013.

WATE 6 On Your Side General Manager Coby Cooper brought Operation Honor Guard to East Tennessee after working with the program in Illinois.

“There was a funeral home director there named Rich Darby, who saw that for each and every fallen veteran, the (honor guard) was completely self funded and on their own to produce the group that provided the funeral services, so Darby realized the something needed to be done to help these guys out, and started a fundraising effort under the umbrella of Operation Honor Guard about five years ago,” he said.

Cooper is on the national Operation Honor Guard board.

Drew Marcum of Rose Mortuary shared their commitment to the cause.

“Well, they’re always there when we call. They’re all veterans, all volunteer, not a dime comes from the government to help them provide the service to families and it’s really such a meaningful and appropriate service for these families who’ve lost loved ones and they were veterans so they never turn us down, they’re always there. We are very grateful to them and we’re extremely pleased and honored to be here and help raise some money for them.”

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