DAYTON, Ohio — Here in Ohio and across the country, there’s a shortage of people who make up the honor squad: paying tribute to military veterans at their funerals. The VA in Dayton and other facilities are looking for a few good men and women to join the ranks of the honor squad.
What You Need To Know
- The Veterans Honor Squad is looking for volunteers to pay tribute to vets at their funerals
- You don't have to be a veteran to be part of the Honor Squad
- The Honor Squad trains volunteers and provides uniforms
- Volunteers get lunch provided for them on the day they serve
“We’d like one day a week of service,” said Michael Seiler, a Navy veteran who is an Honor Squad leader. “Some of us do two days a week. The length of the day depends on the schedule that the cemetery puts out for that day,” Seiler said.
Volunteers aren’t required to be veterans. There’s another quality they’re looking for.
“Desire to honor veterans is the most important thing,” said Tom Gorczyca, an Army veteran and honor squad commander. “We will train people. You have to be able to handle a weapon. We provide the uniform and we provide a free lunch, so it’s the motivation that’s most important.”
Gorczyca says they encourage would-be participants to join them for a day first.
“Come out and watch us. There’s no obligation but come out and spend a couple hours with us,” Gorzyca said. “Our members are very helpful and take a look at us and judge from there.”
Honor Squad member Dwight Johnson said he’s hoping to get more volunteers of color.
“We need more people and we need to be more diverse and I’d just like to see more people come out and join the squad,” Johnson said.
“I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that I’m giving final honors to a veteran who we don’t know,” Seiler said. “He may have given just about everything he could during his time in service - he may have given nothing, but he’s still a veteran and at some point, he signed his name to give away his life for the United States.”
The Honor Squad isn’t just there for the fallen veteran.
“I think the family really appreciates it and that’s the most important thing to me is how the family feels about us,” Johnson said.c
If interested in joining, contact the Honor Squad at DaytonHonorSquad@gmail.com.