A week after Veterans Day, the county is still saluting its fallen heroes.
On Tuesday, County Clerk Eva McDaniel presented the Camp Nelson Honor Guard with a check for $4,000.
The honor guard is headquartered about 100 yards south of Camp Nelson and is tucked away and unseen from U.S. 27 at 215 Christopher Lane.
“It’s a jewel in this county that few people know about, and we still need help to stay afloat,” Col. Tracy Lucas said. “This money will go toward continuing our effort to honor soldiers with a proper military funeral.”
Lucas said that there is nothing like the honor guard anywhere in the 2,000-mile stretch between Arlington National Ceremony and Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
The nonprofit performs military honors at funeral services throughout the year for the cost of $250, which is just a small stipend compared to the cost to maintain the place and for the upkeep of the horses that lead the process up to the cemetery. However, the Camp Nelson Honor Guard serves all veterans, regardless of ability to pay.
The group is only one of three honor guards in America that performs enhanced military honors by using the caisson and riderless horse, and they are the only honor guard that provides the single-horse hearse for all military active-duty personnel and veterans.
“A lot of supplies get donated, some have come from even Lexington city,” Lucas said. “But we’re out here everyday, we even just put up a new roof and we’re working on finishing the stable for the horse in the back.”
For McDaniel, she said she wishes she could give more and hopefully one day will be able to from county funds.
“What they do out here is really unique and special,” McDaniel said.
The check she presented came from the Kentucky County Clerks Association’s project to benefit Hope for Veterans of Kentucky foundation.
The project designs and constructs birdhouses made from recycled Kentucky license plates, such as collage plates and nature plates, that are no longer available for use.
“It is an honor for our Kentucky County Clerks Association to contribute to the well-being of our veterans,” McDaniel said.
The birdhouses are available at all county clerk’s offices in the state at a price of $20 each with all proceeds going to charitable veterans organizations.
In August, McDaniel gave a check of $5,000 to the Thomson-Hood Veterans Center as a result of the sales of birdhouses in Jessamine County and Monday gave another $4,000.
The honor guard is not funded through the military or Veterans Affairs at this time and relies solely on private donations.
One hundred percent of all donations received are used solely for the Camp Nelson Honor Guard’s mission, “to bring honor and dignity to each veteran laid to rest on the quiet hillside of the Camp Nelson National Cemetery.”
To donate, contact Lucas at TracyLucas92@yahoo.com or visit the website at www.campnelsonhonorguard.org.