INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Indiana National Guardsmen and veterans service organization members received the Indiana Military Funeral Honors Ribbon, Thursday, Aug. 14, at Tyndall Armory in Indianapolis for distinguished participation in support of military funeral honors.
Approximately 100 recipients were awarded the ribbon for wear at the ceremony. Each recipient devoted countless hours rehearsing, preparing and supporting fallen veterans and their families. Funeral honors organizations are comprised of volunteers who donated their time to pay their last respects to the fallen. Awardees included two World War II veterans, who continue to honor fellow service members.
“You are recognized for your volunteerism, dedicating your time on weekends, holidays, and despite weather conditions”, said Col. Todd Townsend, Indiana National Guard vice chief of staff.
Indiana joins one of four other states that have adopted the ribbon to acknowledge funeral participants, and Indiana is likely to be the only state to award members of veterans organizations.
“I believe we are the only state to reach out to veterans service organizations, you are an important part of our team; without you, Indiana could not perform these services,” said Richard Karkowski, Indiana’s Military Funeral Honors coordinator.
In this fiscal year, six teams have participated in 2, 242 funerals. Recipients of the ribbon met strict guidelines outlined in Indiana House Bill 1387. They have participated in at least 50 funeral events within a two-year period, continually representing the epitome of selfless service as they help say farewell.
“I have participated in funeral honors for over five years, I do it to honor the families and the soldiers who have served our country, they deserve it,” said Bruce Clark of the Veterans of Delaware County.
The ribbon’s blue stripe represents the state flag, purple represents the joint effort of all the agencies that support funeral honors, black represents the mourning and grief over the loss of a comrade, and the red, white and blue stripes represent the United States.