Honor Guard members buy equipment with donation money

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ROYAL, Ill. (WCIA)—Honor Guard volunteers provide military funerals for fallen veterans.

Members in Royal were able to get some equipment with donations in the past.

John Bensyl and Chuck Carl are just two members of American Legion Post 996.

“That’s really the best part of it,” Bensyl explained. “We have a fairly active post for the small town, and we have an SAL, which is Sons of the American Legion, and they’re fairly active and they help us a lot even with the ceremonies. They’re able to fill in.”

They said they wanted to make sure everyone looks nice for those ceremonies.

“It’s always, for the family, it’s something they really appreciate,” Bensyl said. “We get a lot of compliments and a lot of memorial money comes in from the family.”

But they say the equipment gets expensive, and some of the members might not be able to afford a new uniform.

“If you’ve ever been to a funeral in the winter time you know that the cemetery is probably about the coldest place you can be…it’s just really helped a lot, the money that’s been donated, for that purpose,” he said.

With donations from Operation Honor Guard, they’ve been able to buy new uniforms, winter coats and a bugle.

They then put white crosses at graves of veterans at St. John Lutheran Cemetery. They said this is just another way they can honor fallen service members.

“Most of the funerals is people we know, real close to, and sometimes it’s hard,” Chuck Carl explained. “It’s a feeling that you’re finally doing something for them, and it’s the last thing that you can do.”

Operation Honor Guard is Thursday, May 13th. The full list of locations can be found here.

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