The Service of the Transylvania County Honor Guard
By Doug Poad
Like the Marines, the Transylvania County Honor Guard is “looking for a few good women and men,” but not just former Marines. The Honor Guard welcomes veterans of any branch of our Armed Forces looking for a very rewarding way to serve and support their fellow veterans and our county.
Pictured above, Transylvania County Honor Guard members standing by to greet Blue Ridge Honor Flight participants at Asheville Regional Airport in 2019
The Honor Guard’s main mission, while bittersweet, is also extremely rewarding. In an average year, the Honor Guard serves at more than 50 funerals throughout the county and occasionally surrounding counties.
Former Marine Corps Capt James Boatwright captured the essence of this mission when he said that he most enjoys, “The humble and satisfying feeling of knowing – really knowing – how much the family of the deceased veteran appreciates what we are doing for them.” Howard “Sarge” Thiele, the current Commander of the Honor Guard, feels that, “The camaraderie that all of us in the Honor Guard share brings back the memories of when we would have someone to share our thoughts with and to know that there is, in fact, a closeness to each and every member of our team.”
Joining and Serving
Participants proudly wear the uniform of each of their branches of service, provided free of charge to members when they join. Members adhere to military uniform and grooming standards, so beards are out and reasonable hairstyles are in. Individual assignments to funeral services and other events are on a voluntary basis, so your schedule dictates how often you are called upon to serve. In average years, most members serve in two or three funerals per month.
Shown above, CDR Doug Poad presented the Union Jack to the family of Douglas Davidson, former WWII Royal Navy veteran who later worked for General Motors and became a U.S. citizen.
Please consider joining the Honor Guard ranks and enjoy the rewarding experiences and relationships reported by its members. If you’re ready to explore what belonging to this team can mean to you and how you can join, call Howard Thiele at 828-333-7150 or Doug Poad at 828-883-5673 – or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You will find a very welcoming group of brothers and sisters who take great pride in serving their fellow veterans and their community.