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New jackets, other clothing items for Honor Guard

By GREG SCELLIN
Signal Editor

An important way to honor our military veterans locally is to give our departed soldiers the proper graveside respect at their funerals with a Military Honor Guard and a three-volley salute.  Members of American Legion Post 68, Geneva VFW Post 7102 and now the local Sons of the American Legion chapter have been doing this for decades.  But, it’s time for updated uniforms so these spirited volunteers can look sharp when they provide this very important duty.
And, they can use your help.
“We haven’t had new coats for 20-25 years,” Legion member Tom Ortgies said. “They don’t match any more...they just don’t look good.  We want to look sharp when we go out and do this.”
Local Legion member Marty Seward has been working with Mustang Media of Sutton to purchase 15 light jackets, 15 heavier jackets, embroidered gloves, stocking caps and hats. The cost for all the new items will be between $2,000—$2,500. The local VFW and Legion clubs are currently asking community organizations and the general public for donations to help pay for the items. The items have already been ordered.
“Over time, some of the jackets have been lost,” Seward said.  “Plus, we’re going with a more formal jacket...a thicker, black jacket that’s a little bit longer.”
In addition, both local veterans noted the need for warmer jackets, gloves and stocking caps after the recent Percy Aspegren funeral, which took place on a very cold day.
“Another idea is to keep our older guys warmer when they’re out there,” Seward said.
The coats and other items will stay at the Geneva VFW Hall to be used when needed. They will be handed out like the ceremonial rifles are. The items will also be labeled “Military Honor Guard” to encompass both the Legion and VFW, along with the SAL.
Seward is excited to see the Geneva SAL chapter’s progress.
“The SAL chapter is taking off in Geneva,” he said.  “Some members have came out and trained on rifles...some have worked on flags.  I know, personally, hands down, I couldn’t have done things without their help.”
The local honor guard goes out to at least two to three funerals a month, plus leads parades, raises the flag at local football games and attends Memorial Day and Veterans Day activities.
“I don’t think people realize how often we go out and do this for our veterans,” Ortgies said.
Ortgies said people interested in donating towards the purchase of these coats and items can do so by sending donations to: American Legion Post 68, PO Box 3, Geneva, NE  68361. Attn: Marty Seward.
Seward also noted that the local Legion Post is now set up to make donations tax-deductible and has tax certificates available.  For more information on this project, you can contact Ortgies at 402-759-1160 or Seward at 402-759-4911.