Many local Veterans have received military funerals thanks to one special group, the Sequatchie Valley Honor Guard. Chris Reyes, the group’s director, started this non-profit organization in 2010 with an assembly of retired military volunteers. The Honor guard provides a free military service for any honorably discharged veteran from any branch of the armed forces.
Over the years, they have honored veterans from Grundy, Sequatchie, and Marion counties. For Memorial Day, the group performs memorial services at local cemeteries. Beginning in May 2012, they began helping with the candle lighting service at the Orange Hill Cemetery in Tracy City.
Since the Honor Guard relies solely on donations, The Orange Hill Memorial Association wanted to give back to this generous group of volunteers. A letter was written to News Channel 9 for the “Pay It Forward” segment and within one day a call came from Jessica Harthorn announcing the group had been chosen to receive $500 from the McMahan Law Firm and News Channel 9.
Planning began quickly to bring the Honor Guard together and on August 30, several of the Orange Hill Memorial members and News Channel 9 anchor Jessica Harthorn surprised twenty-one members of the Sequatchie Valley Honor Guard and their wives by announcing they were the recipients of the “Pay It Forward” award.