The Monroe County Joint Veterans Honor Guard is located in the heart of Poconos and was started by Thomas Bowditch & five other American Legion members in 2007. They stood as the Honor Guard for the Hour of Honor on the 11th of every month. The hour of honor was started by George Warden & his family. They would light candles & read the names of those from Pennsylvania killed in the War on Terror.
D B Bennett & some members of VFW Post 2540 started to come to the Hour of Honor along with some members of American Legion Post 927. When the VFW Commander passed away we were asked to assist the VFW with the Ceremony. We then started talking about forming a Joint Honor Guard & we invited members from Post 927 to join us. As American Legion Post 903 was the only Post with rifles we started the Honor Guard as part of Post 903. Post 903 purchased the first bugle for the Honor Guard. Being part of Post 903 we were covered by their insurance. As we were training & trying to get Certified our first Official was one of our members ( James Fuller ). He was with us from the beginning at the Hour of Honor.
In April of 2011 we were Certified by The Army under the National Defense Act of 2000 as part of the AP3 program. We later formed on our own as The Monroe County Joint Veterans Honor Guard. Since we started we have done almost 600 Military Funerals & about 300 Ceremonies & parades. From the first group that was Certified there are only three left. DB Bennett, Rick Shay & Thomas Bowditch. We currently have about 13 active members that do everything. Many times we get calls for three funerals on the same day. We maintain a large Insurance Policy because of the Rifles. We provide the uniforms for all our members. We maintain Flags & all the equipment for Posting the Colors, Parades & Ceremonies. We presently have two electronic bugles & one live Bugler. We use 1903 Springfield & M1 Rifles. The 1903 Springfield rifles are almost 100 years old & the M1’s are from the 1940’s. Parts are hard to find & very expensive when we need to repair the rifles. They must be cleaned after every Funeral because of the blanks. Every year the cost of everything goes up.
Since we formed we have NEVER charged for our services. We depend on Donations from the Funeral Homes, Families & the Community. We are not paid by any Government Agency. All of our members Volunteer their time.
The Monroe County Joint Veterans Honor Guard is a separate entity from the American Legion and is a 501 (c) 19 organization