Boomer Times May-June 2017 - Page 12

12B THE BEACON www.coshoctonbeacontoday.com May 17, 2017 Coshocton County Honor Guard is strong group of veterans By Beth Scott beth@coshoctoncountybeacon.com COSHOCTON – Many area honor guards are lacking in membership and trying to stay afloat and active in their commu- nity. However, that is not the case with the Coshocton County Honor Guard. At 20 members strong, the Coshocton County Honor Guard is present in the community, serving not only at veterans’ funerals, but also in parades, Memorial and Veteran’s Day events, raising the your life, your memories, our priority. GIVEN-DAWSON-PAISLEY F U N E R A L H O M E 186 Park Ave, Coshocton, Ohio 43812 740-622-1711 • www.given-dawson-paisleyfh.com LIFE WELL CELEBRATED ® { 0053_051717 American flag at high school ball games, and doing demonstrations for various organizations. “In this day and age, it’s getting hard for people to volunteer, and Coshocton is very lucky to have what we have,” said Tom Apple, who has volunteered with the Coshocton County Honor Guard for six years and also with the Newcomerstown Honor Guard. “We have a really good Vet- erans Service Office.” John Dotson, who has volunteered with the honor guard for two years, said it’s unfortunate to see other local honor guards going by the wayside. “We live in a fast-pace life and people are just too busy to volunteer,” he said. A military funeral is optional to all families with a deceased loved one who has served this country. The honor guard is contacted by the family at the funeral home’s suggestion and as many volun- teers from the honor guard as possible show up to perform last military rights to their fallen comrade. “We look at it as being an honor to give them one final military ceremony,” said Apple. “We take it pretty seriously. We try to look nice and act professionally.” The honor guard attends the funeral and files past the casket to salute their fel- low veteran one last time. They then go to the graveside service where they perform the 21 gun salute and play Taps. The Co- shocton County Honor Guard performed in 80 funerals last year and have done more than 60 so far this year. “It’s an honor and really cool to be able to do that and be a part of that scene,” said Dotson. “But it also makes you think about your own mortality. We’ve all talked and told each other we want this done at our own funeral. I really respect it though, and the community does too. We get a lot of cards from the families thanking us. We meet people all the time in the county who thank us. They appre- ciate what we do.” Not only does Dotson volunteer in the honor guard, but he is also a hospice vol- unteer who goes around to area nursing homes and talks to veterans. “It’s nice to be around other people you can swap stories with,” he said. “It’s nice listening to the older guys and hearing about all the places in the world they’ve been. They’ve got a lot of interesting stories to tell.” Any veteran who has been honorably discharged is welcome to volunteer in the Coshocton County Honor Guard. “We would like to get an invitation out to the younger veterans,” said Apple. “But we understand that most of them have a family and work, but some of them come during the weekend and we appreciate that.” Apple served his country in the Air Force from 1967 – 1971 and Dotson was in the Army from 1971 – 1973. Both agree that the Coshocton County Honor Guard is a good group of guys. “You couldn’t find nicer people to be around,” said Apple. “The Coshocton community is lucky to have something special like this in their community.” Dotson agrees. “It’s a bunch of special guys and I really appreciate them, and the community appreciates us too,” he said. “It’s an honor to be a veteran and an honor to honor other veterans.” {