American Legion members volunteer for honor guard duties throughout Nodaway County and beyond as the need arises.
In addition to the traditional funeral honor guard, members honor service, the military and veterans at parades, Flag Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies and other occasions where they are asked to participate. This year, the honor guard was in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Maryville.
From June 2017 to date, the guard has participated in 14 funerals. Coordinator Amos Clampit said that Maryville American Legion Post 100 will normally do 20 funerals a year.
The family may request the presence of the AL guard through the funeral home. The guard normally works with the military branch on the ceremony, which may consist of the presentation of the flag, the trumpet playing Taps and/or a firing squad. The order is up to the family and what they want.
The AL honor guard will do a ceremony for any person who served in the military, regardless of whether they were an AL member. They must have been honorably discharged.
The military branch normally sends two servicemen to participate, but again it is up to the family’s wishes. The AL likes to have 10 members, but can make do with six to eight.
Clampit said the honor guard will present a coin from the National Guard Funeral Honor Service and the empty round cases to the person who received the flag. The military will normally fold and present the flag.
“It’s hard to give the flag to someone we know,” Bob Westfall, honor guard member, said. “We will if we have to. That gives the family comfort and allows them to know the military cares.”
Post 100 helps with ceremonies with the Parnell, Burlington Jct. and Elmo legions. They have done ceremonies in Red Oak, IA, and St. Joseph. The Conception Jct. AL Post 464 also helps.
There are currently 16 honor guard members. They are Clampit, Tim Conover, Kerby Conover, Jerry Coffelt, David Dredge, Bill Hall, Bill Hull, Leland LaRose, Bob Robinson, Gale Rolofson, Kevin Stark, Ken Sovento, Ron VanFossen and Westfall.
The members range in age from 21 to 83. Members of the honor guard must be members of the AL. To be an AL member, the individual must have either served in a conflict or during a conflict. The honor guard is looking for new members and need extra help during the summer and holidays.
“Any person who has served deserves military honors at their funeral,” Clampit said, who has been a member of the AL and honor guard for 10 years. “I will do it until I can’t.”
“I do it to show patriotism and thanks to those who served and to their families,” Westfall, an AL and honor guard member since 2005, said. “It means a lot to the families to honor their loved ones and to say thanks.”