Firefighters form Honor Guard unit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 23, 2004

AHOSKIE – What first appeared as a distant dream has now become reality.

After nearly eight months of planning, the Hertford County Firefighters Association (HCFA) has at last fulfilled their desire to offer an Honor Guard team that can perform at various functions.

Earlier this month, HCFA officials received seven dress uniforms, complete with hats, shoes, tassels and badges. Those custom fit, &uot;Class A&uot; uniforms will be proudly worn by Honor Guard team members during various functions such as firefighter funerals, parades and other special events.

&uot;This is our way to show honor and respect to our profession,&uot; said HCFA member Chris Smith.

Smith said that Honor Guard units are, &uot;few and far in-between in the state.&uot;

&uot;Having an Honor Guard adds professionalism when we pay honor to a fellow firefighter who has passed from this life,&uot; noted Smith. &uot;It’s our way to honor those that have volunteered their time in service to their community. It also shows respect to the family.&uot;

However, the HCFA Honor Guard will not limit their appearances to only funerals. Smith said the group would be available to march in local parades as well as offer their services to any organization that desires to add a bit of &uot;pomp and circumstance&uot; to a function.

&uot;As a matter of fact, our first scheduled event is May 20 at the (American Legion) Post 102 banquet where we will post the colors,&uot; stated Smith.

In addition to Smith, a member of the Union Volunteer Fire Department, other Honor Guard members include Jeremy Brittenham, Wayne Conner and Billy Helms, all of the Murfreesboro Fire Department, as well as Nathan Pierce, Barry Blowe and Chuck Munford of the Ahoskie Fire Department. Brittenham serves as the Honor Guard’s team leader.

Future plans call for the addition of second Honor Guard unit.

In order to raise the funds to purchase the snazzy uniforms, HCFA officials held a golf tournament in October of last year. Despite the area still in the recovery process of Hurricane Isabel, the event generated nearly $4,500, of which every penny was spent purchasing the seven uniforms.

&uot;We really appreciate the turnout and the sponsorship we had at our tournament, especially with us still reeling from the hurricane,&uot; said Munford. &uot;Many local businesses came out in full support of our efforts. To each of them, the HCFA passes along their thanks.&uot;

The tournament, won by a foursome sponsored by Kalfus & Knachman law firm in Virginia Beach, attracted 13 teams. Additionally, 53 sponsors stepped forward to help raise money for the event.

To find out more about the HCFA Honor Guard or to schedule the group for a function, contact either Smith (287-6767) or Munford (287-6150).