ARTHUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Over the years, WCIA has raised thousands of dollars for Operation Honor Guard. That money goes to help groups throughout Central Illinois.

One of those groups is American Legion Post 479 in Arthur. Once a month, members gather at the fire station. The post used to have a legion hall but over the years, it got to be too much work.

“The upkeep, the taxes … we don’t have the membership to go out and raise the money to take care of all of that,” says Commander Terry Ferchow. The post has almost 80 members, but only about 15 are active. They focus on honoring veterans at their funerals.

“We help Lovington. I’ve gone and helped Bethany. I’ve gone to Arcola. I’ll go wherever I can. If they’re short, we borrow from them. They borrow from us,” says Ferchow. Even then, they sometimes come up short. But a new high school club could be the answer to that problem. Nicola Pearce is in charge of it.

“We thought of this idea to come up with a service honor guard and the honor guard would participate in rendering services for our deceased veterans, parades, flag service, things of that nature,” says Pearce. She’s also a member of Lovington’s legion post and a Senior Vice Commander for Arthur’s VFW post.

The school program started last year and is gaining more interest.

“I feel that it gives an opportunity for the young kids to give back, feel a part of something, they feel a lot of pride and honor,” says Pearce.

They hope this might entice those students to enlist. Then one day, they might join a legion post themselves. Ferchow hopes, in the end, they can continue serving the people who served us.

WCIA’s Operation Honor Guard fundraiser is on Wednesday, October 2. It will go from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.