Honoring the Guard

The Karnes County Christian Thrift Center (KCCTC) presented five members of the Karnes County Honor Guard with a donation to use for their group for uniforms and incidental expenses. The Honor Guard began in 1998 when a group of mostly Vietnam veterans got together and decided to honor their fellow comrades who were passing away. In the past, when they were laid to rest, there had been no recognition that they had honorably served their country. It took two years to secure enough rifles to present a 21-gun salute. A bugle was later donated to the group to play "Taps." The Honor Guard depends solely on donations to continue operating. If the family of a deceased veteran requests a military funeral, the Honor Guard attends in full uniform to honor them with a 21-gun salute. The group is looking for more members to assist with funerals and other events. Since the group began, it has lost five original members. The two most recent were Don Roberts, U.S. Air Force; and Tony Mendoza, U.S. Army, Gulf War. Pictured are, back row, from left, are John Noone, U.S. Navy veteran, Vietnam; Ernesto Cruz, Karnes County Honor Guard vice commander, U.S. Navy, Vietnam; Shelby Buehring, U.S. Army, Vietnam; Robert Bookman, U.S. Army, Vietnam; volunteers Lynn Buehring, Pete Rios and Carole Gaskamp; and front row, Fernando "Nando" Salinas, Karnes County Honor Guard commander, U.S. Army, Vietnam, Karnes County Christian Thrift Center officer Ellie Bilbrey; and volunteer Norma Diaz. Not pictured are Enedino "Dino" Bryan, U.S. Navy, Vietnam; Amanda Garza Yanta, U.S. Army, Iraq; Eric Garza, U.S. Army, Iraq; and Heidi Bell, U.S. Army. (Photo courtesy of KCCTC)