Community mourns American Legion Honor Guard member, Navy Veteran


JELLICO, Tenn. (WATE)- A community is coming together to remember the life and legacy of an Honor Guard member and Veteran killed in a farming accident.

Gary “Boo” Leach, who served in the U.S. Navy and was a 25-year member of the American Legion Honor Guard in Jellico put others before himself, according to friends and family. He gave without expecting anything in return.

“He saw when somebody needed something, it really had nothing to do with the honor guard. When he saw somebody in need, he took care of it,” said Darrell Whitaker, Leach’s step-son, a title Whitaker says doesn’t encapsulate the impact Leach had on his life.

“He always talked about his military service, how proud he was of it. He was assigned to the U.S.S. Lexington,” said Whitaker.

Whitaker, who served in the Air Force, said he learned more from Leach through his actions than his words. He lived his life with God, his family, and military members at the forefront of everything he did.

“We’ll do our best to keep his work alive, and do what he would want us to do, he did his part, and now, it’s up to us to do our part,” said Kevin Walden, Director of Veteran Affairs for Campbell County.

Walden said giving back and supporting the American Legion Honor Guard would’ve been something Leach wanted — because it’s what he did, daily.

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