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Veterans group receives honor

By Staff | Aug 26, 2009

OFFICIAL BUSINESS — Larry Howard escorts Brigadier General James A. Hoyer to the VFW for a ceremony honoring the Blue Blazers.

The Blue Blazers, a group of veterans from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts in Sistersville, Paden City and New Martinsville, were recently presented with an award from Brigadier General James A. Hoyer.

The award recognizes Schau-Robinson-Herbold Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6327 in Sistersville for dedicated performance in support of the defense department’s military funeral honors program, but Commander Fred Clayton wants to recognize others that have helped.

“This is the first time one of these certificates has been issued to anybody. We just got started with this in 2007 with the West Virginia Honor Guard in Kingwood,” said Clayton.

The Blue Blazers have anywhere from 18 to 23 people who go to funerals to honor veterans who have served our country. The veterans serve many roles such as flag bearers, posting colors, chaplain, and firing rifles for a 21-gun salute.

“We don’t do it because of the money involved,” added Clayton. “We do it because it’s an honor to help our fallen and departed comrades.”

For the past year, the Blue Blazers have not missed a single funeral.

Brigadier General Hoyer flew in on a helicopter to Sistersville General Hospital where he was then escorted to the VFW by Larry Howard where he was greeted by many other veterans before presenting the award.

Hoyer currently serves as the Director, Joint Staff at the West Virginia National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters. In this capacity, he manages and directs for the adjutant general the day to day activities for the West Virginia Joint Forces Headquarters and the West Virginia Army and Air National Guard staffs.

In addition, he supports the adjutant general in his role as a state appointed official. He also serves as deputy commander for the West Virginia National Guard Homeland Defense Joint Task Force and has served full-time with this program since December 1998.

In this role, his duties include command responsibilities for the West Virginia National Guard’s homeland defense and counter drug programs to include the National Guard Joint Interagency Training Center – East and its Center for National Response training site, the Camp Dawson training site, Civil Support Team, CNRNE Enhanced Response Force, and the WVNG Counter Drug Task Force. His duties also include advising the adjutant general and the assistant adjutant general for installations and homeland defense on homeland defense, counter drug and counter/anti-terrorism issues.