By Jackie Gorski
WARSAW — A total of $4,500 was donated to Warsaw American Legion Post No. 49’s honor guard and flag program fund.
G & G Hauling & Excavating donated $1,000; Echoes of the Past donated $1,000; and the Creighton Foundation donated $2,500.
The American Legion Post No. 49 created the fund for donations to the honor guard and flag program. Money from the fund mainly is for flags to honor veterans at cemeteries in Kosciusko County.
The Legion marks every veteran’s grave with a flag for Memorial Day. Historically, they have placed 2,500 flags on veterans graves, according to provided information.
There are 83 active cemeteries in Kosciusko County, said Ted Harrell, second vice commander of the Sons of the American Legion and the flag program chair.
There are veterans that are buried that aren’t being honored on Memorial Day, said John Mort, Post commander. The Legion is picking up additional flags and volunteers in order to pick up additional cemeteries to make sure all veterans are honored on Memorial Day. He said he doesn’t think anyone knows for certain how many veterans are buried in Kosciusko County.
Tuesday, Mort talked about the importance of honoring veterans. He said they died or served in the defense of the country, and it is so important to recognize veterans on Memorial Day.
Mort said American Legion Post No. 49 is not going to do all the cemeteries in Kosciusko County. Syracuse, North Webster, Pierceton and the Lions Club will do some.
“We want to make sure that every cemetery somebody is looking at. If we need to do it, we’ll do it,” he said.
The cemeteries Post No. 49 currently covers include Oakwood Cemetery, Palestine Cemetery, Wooden Cemetery and Union Cemetery. He said some of the cemeteries in the county are in the middle of the field and the Legion is starting to pick up some of those. The goal is to make sure every veteran is covered.
The flags won’t go straight into the ground. They will be put into one of several markers, said Harrell. Some of the markers state whether the person is part of the Legion or Veterans of Foreign Warsaw.
The flags won’t be left out all year. They will be put out two weeks before Memorial Day and taken down two weeks after the holiday, so they’re not up all year getting torn apart and stolen, Mort said.
The money in the fund also will go toward providing a sock hat, ties, gloves and windbreaker to members of the Warsaw American Legion Honor Guard and maintain the guard’s 10 M1 Grande World War II rifles and blank ammunition to support the ceremonies the guard participates in. It is the Legion’s responsibility to provide the cleaning, adjusting and repair of the rifles, Mort said.
Mike Loher, a member of Echoes of the Past, said he wanted to help with the fund because the Legion has provided the honor guard at several events he has organized. He also said several of his uncles were veterans.
Loher heard Mort and Harrell talking about the fund. He got in touch with Mindy Creighton Truex, of Creighton Brothers. Since Loher is a member of Echoes of the Past, he also brought the fund up at the meeting and it was decided the organization would donate to it.
If someone wants to donate to the fund, a check can be sent to American Legions Post #49, 301 N. Buffalo St., Warsaw, IN 46580, and earmark the check for the honor guard fund.
To volunteer, people can call the Legion at (574) 267-5549. The only requirement to volunteer is the ability to carry a flag.