Veterans volunteer for Operation Honor Guard event - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Veterans volunteer for Operation Honor Guard event

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MARION -- Many area veterans answered the call of duty to make the second annual Operation Honor Guard Day of Giving even more successful than last year.

The 2017 Day of Giving, hosted by Black Diamond Harley Davidson in Marion, raised nearly $30,000 for area veterans groups.

For Lt. Dan Finke, of Carterville, service to others has always been a part of life. Now he and other honor guard members throughout southern Illinois need the community's help to provide military funeral honors for fellow vets.

"It's an important tradition to carry on," says Finke, "and we're all about patriotism and honoring those who have served."

But for most of these honor guard members age is starting to catch up.  Finke says the average age of the Herrin Honor Guard is 82.

Korean War veteran Don Burgrabe, of Marion, is thankful for the donations. He says, "You see these real expensive cars just zoom by as fast they can and then here comes this old lady in a small car who hands us a twenty and you can tell it's from their heart they're offering it to us."

But, he says, younger members stepping up is the only way to keep the tradition alive.

"Usually after taps is played the immediate family, they're crying and they come up and say thank you."

And that "thank you" is all they ask for the service they provide.

Operation Honor Guard's Day of Giving is sponsored by the following local businesses: Black Diamond Harley Davidson, Crain Funeral Home and Cremation Service, First Southern Bank, Anderson's Warehouse Furniture, Liberty Village of Carbondale and Marion, Outlaw Motorsports, and Golden Eagle Distributing.

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