Updated 03/11/2013 06:23 PM
Broome County Veterans Memorial Association receives grant
As military veterans pass away, arrangements are made to ensure they are buried with special honor. In fact, that is the main goal of the Broome County Veterans Memorial Association. As our Melissa Kakareka tells us, the association is getting a little bit of help with their mission.
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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- When a veteran passes away in Broome County, members of the Broome County Veterans Memorial Association are there to provide a special prayer, a rifle detail and other services.
"The federal government funds two people for a funeral and they are basically there to fold the flag and to play taps and that's all the government pays for. Anything beyond that, they don't do. And that's why our group was formed years ago," said Broome County Veterans Memorial Association President Tony Moran.
Members of the association are all volunteers from various branches of the military.
The group attends about 200 military funerals per year. In fact, they just provided services at three separate burials on Monday morning. That kind of demand puts stress on their rifles and equipment.
"What we find with the rifles we are using right now, they are breaking down a lot, the parts are old, you know, we give them a lot of use," said Moran.
The association received a $5,000 grant from Broome County Monday to help. The grant will pay for uniforms and rifle maintenance. Members previously had to pay for those costs out of their own pocket.
"Remembering those who fought for our freedom and paying our respects to their family is too important of a job to go unnoticed and unfunded," said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.
The organization says the money will go a long way. That means that the organization can continue to provide the comfort and support that military family’s need during a time of grief.
"I've had people come up to me and give me a bear hug and they can't thank you enough. And for my perspective, what do you say beyond that? It's like we've done something good and helped these families deal with the unhappiness of the death," said Moran.