She said the group is unique in that it is dedicated to Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery.
The cemetery opened on Memorial Day of last year. Kinnard was a Vietnam veteran who retired from the Navy after 22 years of service during which he was awarded the Navy Cross, seven Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star.
He was a vocal advocate for Veterans Affairs on the state and federal levels following his retirement. He died in 2009 at age 72. He was cremated, and his ashes were the first interred at the cemetery.
Construction of the cemetery was funded with $14.1 million provided by a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs State Cemetery Grant. Dow Chemical Corp. donated the land next to the West Virginia State Police Academy in Institute.
The cemetery will be able to accommodate 60,000 graves and is operated with assistance from veterans organizations and volunteers.
Any honorably discharged veteran with at least 24 months of active duty, along with any service member killed on active duty or medically discharged prior to 24 months, is eligible to be buried in the cemetery free of charge.
Spouses and minor children are eligible for a fee of $700. The veteran does not have to pre-decease the dependent. For more information about the cemetery, call 304-746-0026.
Veterans who wish to try out for the Honor Guard are asked to bring DD214 proof of service papers. Those selected will be taught required skills for participation by current members. Those who can participate in some but not all activities are welcome.
"At least come and see what we do," Hamilton said. "Hopefully, you will want to be part of it."
For more information about Honor Guard tryouts, call 304-546-2675 or 304-746-0026.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.
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