Since 2004 the Tri-County Honor Guard’s purpose has been to honor fallen veterans. Arnold Smallin is a Vietnam Veteran and chaplain for the group. He says every funeral service is touching.
“It is very hard to keep your own tears from flowing and sometimes I don’t,” said Smallin. “Sometimes the tears come and that’s just part of it.”
The Tri-County Honor Guard serves Claiborne, Union and Grainger Counties.
“The first time I ever saw the honor guard I wasn’t part of it,” said Smallin. “They did my uncle’s funeral and it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw.”
Smallin says being a part of honoring fellow veterans is important to the community.
“Everyone that’s served in our military, no matter what branch, whether deceased at 90 years old or whether lost in battle, they deserve a final goodbye,” said Smallin.
Harold Miller is the commander of Tri-County Honor Guard. He says the service goes beyond honoring the veteran.
“What it means for me, it’s showing respect for fellow veterans,” said Miller. “It’s something that gives you an honor to do this, not only for the deceased but for the family.”
The Honor Guard uses donations from the community to keep itself up and running. Smallin says donations from Operation Honor Guard Day of Giving will hopefully help get one of their vans up and running.
“One of our van’s we kind of had a little mishap with it and it’s got a broken heart at this time, so, we’re short a van,” said Smallin.
If you would like to donate to the Tri-County Honor Guard, checks can be mailed to:
P.O. Box 362 Maynardville, TN 37807.