From November 6th through November 11th, Horan & McConaty will host an Operation Honor Guard fundraiser, to benefit 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.
When a veteran is not eligible or the military is not available, honor guard members are volunteers who supplement the military and provide honors at the family’s request. In the Denver Metro Area, there are only 2 volunteer honor guards, the All Veterans Honor Guard and Longmont American Legion Post #32 Honor Guard.
Dick Kounovsky, of the American Legion Honor Guard in Longmont, says that 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.”
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. “There aren’t enough of us to go around,” he says. “It’s truly a noble cause. We’re all volunteers, and the thanks we get is the appreciation of the families we serve.”
According to the Department of Defense, there are ten thousand Honor Guards in the United States, averaging 12 members each. 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.
In addition, there is the Honor Bell, providing a stirring tribute to a veteran’s service. Commissioned in 2016, the Honor Bell is a 1000 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,” says Olivera. “Whether they served for 3 years, or retired after 30, they deserve honor.” He’s very proud of the selflessness of the Honor Guard volunteers, adding, “These individuals stand for hours in all weather conditions, many of them elderly, some even in their 90s, and demonstrate to their fellow citizens that America is the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”
Horan & McConaty is dedicated to helping veterans in any way they can. Says Horan, “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.”
About Horan & McConaty
For over 120 years, Horan & McConaty has served families in the greater Denver area, working to ease the journey of those coping with the end of a life with unsurpassed levels of compassion and professionalism. We facilitate services that provide comfort and meaning, and honor life.
About Operation Honor Guard
Operation Honor Guard, founded in 2013, is now a 501(c)(3) organization which has benefitted over eighty Honor Guards across the nation.
About the Honor Bell Foundation
Honor Bell Foundation, Inc. is a Colorado nonprofit, 501(c)(3) corporation based in Denver. The foundation not only provides a ceremonial bell for veterans’ funerals, but also veteran outreach and community education.