Happy Veterans Day to the men and women who serve our country.
The New York State Funeral Directors Association is informing members about important resources available to honor veterans in New York State while caring for their families.
Veterans are entitled to a funeral honors detail consisting of two active-duty members of the armed forces.
Sergeant First Class Erwin Dominguez, who serves as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge at the New York Army National Guard’s Military Forces Honor Guard, describes his position as “By far the most honorable job I have ever had while serving in the military.”
Dominguez, who shared his thoughts with NYSFDA, said the Military Forces Honor Guard has a duty to serve veterans with dedication, commitment, and integrity.
Only the best women and men are chosen to serve in this capacity, Dominguez said.
These soldiers are scouted by commanders throughout New York State and chosen for their high standing within their units.
They undergo an interview process to ensure they can handle the emotional task of serving families as well as the discipline and training.
After the interview phase, these soldiers are sent to a five-day initial training phase, followed by a 40-hour course to learn the processes and procedures involved in being a member of the Honor Guard.
The New York Army National Guard Military Forces Honor Guard, which maintains 9 regional service offices located throughout New York State, consists of 155 service members, full and part-time.
All members are ready to serve once they receive the request from a funeral director, Dominguez said.
Before receiving their missions for the day, the full-time Honor Guard members do physical training and prepare their uniforms to ensure perfection for the families they serve.
Each regional coordinator makes sure these Honor Guard members reach out to funeral homes throughout the state to share their resources.
NYSFDA recognizes the great value of having a military honors program available.
Funeral directors at the NYSFDA-member M.B. Kilmer Funeral Homes appreciate the Honor Guard being available as a reliable resource for families.
“Veterans have put their lives on the line for us, and they deserve to see that America appreciates them,” said Funeral Director George Kilmer, who has called on the Honor Guard many times.
They always arrive early and ready to serve, he said.
The funeral home often receives positive feedback from families, who are especially impressed by the uniforms, the perfection of the ceremonies that rival those preformed at Arlington National Cemetery, Kilmer said.
In honor of the men and women in military uniform, the NYSFDA is sharing a newly-updated resource guide for veterans and their families.
The guide, “When A Veteran Passes Away: A Planning Guide for the Surviving Family,” is now available for both families and funeral homes.
For a copy or more information, contact Dannielle at Dannielle@nysfda.org or 518-452-8667.
NYSFDA thanks the women and men who have and continue to serve our country.