CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Saying a final farewell to someone you likely didn’t know is quite common for members of the honor guard at the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery.
The all-volunteer Memorial Services Detachment provides full military honors for deceased veterans, such as a recent service for Odem resident US Marine Corps veteran Darrell Dunlap.
Two family members attended Dunlap’s service, and the honor guard was there to present honors.
“We never leave anybody behind,” said detachment commander Tony Acevedo.
And surviving families appreciate the sacrifice honor guard members make to perform the dignified service for their loved ones.
“It was an honor to be here and see that (the honor guard) gave that kind of respect to my uncle,” said Dunlap’s nephew, Sam Dunlap.
Honor guard detachment member Bill McClintock has served in over 2,800 of these services. Being able to perform the service is just as meaningful for him as it is for the families.
“A family member is reassured that somebody is looking out for their loved ones,” he said.
McClintock and other detachment members are getting up in age, which will eventually make it more difficult to continue to carry on this time-honored tradition.
“We’re all getting old here,” said Acevedo, who hopes that other veterans can step up and fill their highly polished shoes. “We need new blood.”
Acevedo knows there will be a time when they will need to pass their rifles and bugle to a younger generation to ensure that these fallen heroes are given the goodbye they deserve — one with full honors.
“Whether it’s one, none or 100, we provide the honors,” said detachment vice president David Matson. “We remember our veterans. “
To find out more about joining the Memorial Services Detachment, call (361) 728-7052.