POCATELLO — A local veterans service organization has established a new military honor guard, which received a sizable donation Wednesday from Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Idaho.
Farm Bureau’s $4,232.40 check will help AMVETS cover start-up costs associated with the new honor guard, including the cost of uniforms for members.
Honor guards perform ceremonial rights at military funerals, help organizations such as Boy Scouts of America host ceremonies and provide color guards for civic events. The community has been served by the Pocatello Veterans Honor Guard. Miguel Dominic, a corporal with the Idaho National Guard who was deployed to Iraq, will head the new AMVETS honor guard.
Dominic said the Pocatello Veterans Honor Guard does an excellent job, but demand for its services is rising.
“You get so many veterans who are passing, they may not be able to go to all of the funerals,” Dominic said.
He said Bannock County has 8,400 veterans, which is the highest per-capita number in the state.
Todd Argall, CEO and executive vice president of the insurance company, said the organization makes a point of supporting veterans.
“As the son of a Korean War veteran, this is near and dear to my heart certainly to support that,” Argall said during a 2 p.m. check presentation ceremony at his company’s Pocatello headquarters at 275 Tierra Drive. “On behalf of Farm Bureau and our employees we thank you for the service each one of you has done for the country, your contributions to the community and we hope this helps a little bit for you to deliver on your mission to the veterans.”
Dominic has undergone honor guard certification training through the U.S. Army National Guard, which entitles the new honor guard to receive federal compensation toward uniform maintenance and other expenses. Dominic believes the service will be a fitting tribute to the soldiers who were killed while he was in Iraq.
He said between eight and 10 veterans have expressed interest in participating in the honor guard, which needs a minimum of seven participants for a funeral.
Decals have been added to Dominic’s personal vehicle to make it the official wheels of the AMVETS honor guard.
AMVETS was federally chartered as a veterans service organization in 1944 and has two Idaho posts. Lance Kolbet, commander of AMVETS Post 1, which includes 85 members, said his organization sent a letter to local funeral homes about a month ago notifying them about the new honor guard.
Kolbet said the honor guard had been in planning for the past five months and became fully functional about a week ago. Kolbet said AMVETS has been hosting breakfasts and spaghetti dinners to raise funds.
“There has been a big shortage of honor guard people for veteran funerals and other events, so we’re pretty excited about this and we really appreciate Farm Bureau and their support for veterans,” Kolbet said.