Fallen service members receive funeral with full military honors

Chris Reyes is the co-founder of the Sequatchie Valley Honor Guard. (Image: WTVC)

(Editor's Note: The video above says that the service started with a 21-gun salute; it actually started with three rifle volleys.)

More than 50 veterans in Sequatchie County are traveling all over Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia together.

They want fallen service members to have a funeral with full military honors.

In this week's Pay It Forward, Newschannel 9's Jessica Harthorn found out how their free service is touching the lives of military families.

In the past few years, Chris Reyes and the Sequatchie Valley Honor Guard have been to more than 500 funerals.

The non-profit is made up of veterans who provide a free military funeral service for the men and women who have died serving our country.

The service begins with a three rifle volleys.

Then the trumpet is heard across the cemetery. It's music somber among the people who stand silent.

Chris Reyes, one of the founders of the Sequatchie Valley Honor Guard, folds the flag and hands it to the family of the fallen military member.

"It's not like a performance. You can tell it really means something to them," said Chris' friend, Sharon Turner.

Turner met Chris a few years ago during a Memorial Day service.

She remembers vividly the ceremony bringing tears to her eyes.

Sharon knew then she wanted to thank Chris and the honor guard for their service.

So she organized her own event, inviting the members of the Sequatchie Valley Honor Guard to a surprise lunch at the Western Sizzlin in Jasper.

"Mr. Chris, on behalf of the McMahan Law Firm and Newschannel 9," surprised Sharon.

"Oh Man!" said Chris.

"And for all you and the Sequatchie Valley Honor Guard do to honor military families, with great pride and gratitude, I'd like to Pay It Forward. So hold out your hand 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Bless you!" continues Sharon.

It just so happened, the Mayor of Chattanooga was at the restaurant for an event too, so Andy Berke stopped by to congratulate the group.

"We are called the Volunteer State for a reason, and I wanted to say thanks for your service to our country," said Mayor Berke.

And they'll continue to sacrifice their time and resources for the men and women who sacrificed it all.

Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for making the community a better place? Nominate them here.

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