Pandemic affects Honor Guard donations

Local News

DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA)—Honor Guards across the nation are dedicated to giving veterans a proper burial service.

These volunteers took a fund-raising hit last year when the pandemic was first reported, but they’re hoping donors turn out this week to get them back on track.

Veterans with American Legion Post 210 in Danville are feeling those effects, and they’re hoping this year’s fundraiser is the biggest one yet.

“Regardless of branch, service or anything; every veteran deserves this,” Retired Army Veteran, Tom Morse, said.

Morse served in Vietnam from 1971-76, and he worked for a burn unit in a hospital where his team picked up wounded soldiers and brought them back home.

He has served his country his entire life, and now he’s focused on serving his community and honoring area veterans.

Morse serves as the American Legion Post 210 Adjutant, and he says the service Operation Honor Guard provides in Danville is unmatched.

“I just don’t think that any veteran should be laid to rest without a proper ceremony. It’s deeply in my heart that everybody deserves this. That touches me more than anything,” Morse said.

No matter the weather, rain or shine, the Honor Guard responds and provides a proper presence for the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much. In 2019, they set a record with 185 services, but once the pandemic hit, that momentum took a hit.

“Last year, we just decided it wouldn’t be right to do it because of the Coronavirus,” Morse said.

Morse says their Legion Post also took a hit from not being able to serve veterans. It depleted their reserves for building maintenance, and it cut off donations for volunteers. Morse is urging donors they need your help now more than ever.

“Come and help support the American Legion. We do a lot of great things and have a lot of great services. We’re all volunteers. We don’t get paid a penny. The money that is donated goes strictly for uniforms and rifle maintenance,” Morse said.

It costs nearly $800 to outfit each volunteer.

If you’d like to donate to their cause or other Operation Honor Guard groups throughout the area, sites will be set up Thursday from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

For the best time and location that fits your location, you can click here.

Morse says it’s his personal goal for the Danville group to raise at least $20,000 on Thursday, and he’s hoping donors turn out to exceed his expectations.

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