Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

Rotary Club honors Honor Guard

Paul Hughes and Pooch Pace were among Honor Guard members honored on Tuesday. Paul Hughes and Pooch Pace were among Honor Guard members honored on Tuesday.

The Henderson County Honor Guard performs the duty of honoring veterans who have passed way.

On Tuesday, the Honor Guard was on the receiving end. The Hendersonville Rotary Club honored the unit during a Veterans Day program.
Why serve in the Honor Guard?
"It allows us the satisfaction of honoring our comrades who have served our country and of assisting their families," Honor Guard member Paul Hughes, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam in 1970-71, told the club. "It provides us a renewed connection with the armed services as well as camaraderie with fellow veterans."
Hughes introduced 14 members of the Honor Guard who attended the Rotary Club meeting.
The honor guard serves at anywhere from 65 to 120 funerals a year; the number of funerals has declined this year and last year, "perhaps due to the declining number of World War II veterans in our community," Hughes said. "We are an all-volunteer organization. There is no charge for our services at any time."
The honor guard has a roster of 20 and needs more members.
"Your service would be provided on a voluntary and 'as available' basis," Hughes said. "Believe me, the experience is gratifying."
Those interested were encouraged to call Hughes at 828.290.4634 or Honor Guard Capt. Ann Allen at 828.606.9375.
The Rotary Club also called on two its members to share their experience in military service.
johnmortonJohn MortonThe Rev. John Morton became a second lieutenant out of Wofford University in 1969, just missing Vietnam but serving in Germany on active duty and 23 years in the Reserves. His wife, Paula, "had no experience with the military" but because she had enjoyed working with college students she signed up to become a Navy chaplain. "Then Sept. 11 came along and she thought her experience as a hospital chaplain might be needed," he said. It was.

Matt MattesonMatt MattesonThe Navy called her to active duty and sent her to Germany to minister at a military hospital that treated wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Suddenly a single parent, Morton said the experience was gratifying because be became closer to his children. It made him appreciate, too, the reservists who were called up, leaving spouses in much more trying circumstances than his.
Although the military was not first on the minds of many college students in 1968, Matt Matteson thought it might be for him. He joined the Army, finished boot camp and applied for Officer Candidate School and was accepted.
"For me that was kind of a big thing," he said. "I was 22 and unmarried." OCS training was stressful but in the end rewarding. "It was their way of making leaders out of us so we could go to Vietnam and lead soldiers into battle." (The Army did not send him to Vietnam.) "I'm proud of my three-year stint in the Army," he said.He later learned that former Henderson County schools Superintendent Stephen Page was in the same OCS regiment.
"Years after, a lot of us really didn't feel like veterans," he said, "because of the way veterans were treated then. But I think all that's changed now. You can see that all over the community with the nice feeling."