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    Members of the American Volunteer Reserve fold a flag during the unveiling ceremony of the New Century Veterans Memorial in 2018. The organization is currently seeking new membership. (Leader file photo)

AVR seeking new members

There is a group of individuals in Young and Stephens County, veterans from all branches of the armed forces, who have dedicated their service to the nation’s military veterans and their community. They are members of the American Volunteer Reserve, a Veterans’ Service Organization who seek no payment nor accolades, only to provide services to their deceased military veterans and their community.

The average age serving in the AVR in the two local communities are well into their 70’s and the AVR is in need of more volunteers. There are no mandatory roll calls to serve on every detail and there are no membership dues. All is needed is the desire to serve.

James Manley Denton served in the U.S. Army finishing his term as E-5. He currently holds the rank of Sergeant Major in the AVR and has served since 2004.

“It a privilege to honor a deceased veteran,” Denton said. “Their families are so appreciative and that encourages me to do the little that I do. The pay is not much, but the reward is great.”

Jon Walker served in the U.S. Navy. He is Brigadier General in the AVR and has served since 2005.

“I joined because the concept of honoring veterans at their passing seemed like an incredible privilege and honor. The three tributes: firing a rifle salute, the playing of Taps, and the folding of the American flag and presenting it to the family takes seven minutes, but the effect on the family lasts forever. These grave side honors, along with carrying the colors in local parades constitute the two-fold mission of the AVR.”

The AVR are the first to lead a parade and they are the last group a deceased veteran will be remembered by.

(Ret.) Col. Gerald Knox Bishop serves as Major General in AVR and is its National Commander.

“I joined in 2005 and have participated or led over 340 military honor ceremonies,” He said. “I look upon this as the ‘last’ thing I can do to honor my brothers and sisters in arms. I recommend it to all who desire to honor them and encourage their surviving families. You will never regret helping them.”

Those interested in continuing to serve American’s veterans, or in receiving any of the services provided by AVR, contact Bishop at gknoxb2@gmail.com.

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Feb. 12 edition of The Graham Leader.

The Graham Leader

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