How did Operation Honor Guard come to be? First, you must know a little about Rich Darby. Rich and his family have been in the business of helping people for over half a century; owning funeral homes and cemeteries in Illinois, Indiana, and Arizona.
In August 2013, Rich, a licensed funeral director, was working a military funeral on an intensely hot and humid day at Sunset Memorial Park in Danville, IL. Rich recalls thinking, "I don't know how much more of this heat I can take. I hope this service doesn't last much longer."
Admittedly feeling sorry for himself, he shifted his focus to the Honor Guard. The volunteer veterans averaging well over 75 years of age standing attention; all red faced and perspiring. He noticed their extremely worn uniform jackets, mismatched pants, frayed flags and faded hats. Rich began to realize that he had it pretty good. He then remembered that the Honor Guard serve in all weather conditions, any time of day, and without compensation.
Rich knew he needed to help. Operation Honor Guard was born. The first item of business was to hold a fundraiser to purchase Danville Illinois' American Legion Post 210's Honor Guard new uniforms. Since that brutally hot day in 2013, over hundreds of Honor Guards have benefited from Operation Honor Guard, NFP grants. Operation Honor Guard is now its very own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which held collections in 5 states during their National Day of Giving. They have raised over $800,000.00 to date and have helped thousands of honor guard members.