CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign Honor Guard is looking for help as their numbers dwindle.

The Honor Guard goes out to veterans’ funerals and perform military rites – playing Taps, performing 21-gun salutes and presenting folding flags to the family.

“These veterans deserve that, so it’s just an honor for me to be able to do it,” said Honor Guard Captain Edwin Cook.

But Cook has only nine reliable members to perform those duties, and they are going to every veteran funeral and memorial service in the area. The youngest member is in his 50s.

Cook said bringing in new members took a hit when the pandemic started. He doesn’t believe that people truly know or understand what they do, but Cook said it’s important.

“The look on people’s faces when you perform military rites at their loved one’s funeral, it just it tugs at your heart,” Cook said. “You know it means something to them, that you guys spent the time and effort to come out there.”

The Honor Guard performs those rites free of charge.