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Campaign underway to create honor guard corps at Horton Veterans Cemetery

The hope is to ensure that all veterans receive burial honors.

SUFFOLK, Va. — The 19-year-old "Albert G. Horton, Junior Memorial Veterans Cemetery" is the final resting place for more than 16,000 veterans and averages 1,200 burials per year.

But, only about one out of every ten interments involve burial honors.

A nonprofit organization was created to partner with the Virginia Department of Veteran Services to establish a new Memorial Honor Guard Corps.

They broke ground in April for the new Memorial Honor Guard Corps Building to be used as a workplace and shelter for corps members.

Now, all they need is the people. They've recruited about 30 volunteers so far, with a goal of 300.

Navy vet and Horton Board Vice President Mike Ihrig is leading the effort.

"The veterans served, they deserve all the respect and honor, full honors that we can give them," he said. "And quite frankly, you're doing that to honor the veteran, but, you're also doing it so the family knows the veteran is honored."

With the 74-acre cemetery being located in a remote section of western Suffolk, the time and distance required to get there have contributed to other honor teams to being unable to make it to the cemetery for funerals in the past. 

Cemetery Superintendent Angela Bufano says having a ready, on-site Honor Guard Corps will allow every veteran who gets buried there to receive the honors they deserve.

"It's so important that family leaves here disappointed because they didn't have the honors rendered. That's what they deserve, and they all shall have it," she said.

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