DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Des Moines Police Department's Honor Guard is trying to raise enough money to modernize its uniforms, to make them more versatile. Some members of the guard say they've been wearing the same uniform for 15 years and say it's time for a change. A community fundraiser was held tonight at Pivot Wealth Strategies on Court Ave to raise money toward that effort.
After the fundraiser, Court Ave was closed for a short period of time so that the guard could perform, but performing the 21 gun salute and the playing of taps is not just about pomp and circumstance. The honor guard is about healing; helping to comfort those in mourning, by honoring fallen officers.
"I make a personal phone call to the family, give them our condolences, their chief of police...and explain to them...that I represent the Des Moines Police Department...and the City of Des Moines, and I ask them what are some of their wishes that they would like the City, the Des Moines Police Honor Guard to perform at their loved one's service," said Sergeant Bernell Edwards of the Des Moines Police Department and its honor guard.
The all volunteer guard travels to funerals throughout the state and the country. "We`ve attended the funeral for the five police officers down in Dallas, Texas, the police officers in Louisiana, police officer in Kansas City, San Antonio, Texas, so we've visited other agencies, which they have also came and paid the same respect for our fallen officers, that we've had a tough year with also," said Sgt. Edwards.
And it's that reciprocation of honor that helps the members of the guard show grace under pressure. "I have some people say, how can you guys do it? How can you hold your composure through something like that? And I think the thing I always tell people is, because it`s what I say to myself is, I know they'd do the exact same thing for me," said Sergeant Theodore Stroope with the Des Moines Police Department and its guard.
And they have; "North Dakota, Texas, Connecticut, California...Baton Rouge, Louisiana…you name it, NYPD was here..." said Sgt. Stroope. "Utah Highway Patrol sent two officers to Tony (Beminio) and Justin`s (Martin) funeral. While they were here for those funerals, an officer was ambushed and killed in Utah in a similar style to Tony and Justin, and that was just a perfect example of what they do and why they do," said Sgt. Stroope.
Pivot Wealth Strategies is playing a key role in the fundraising effort for the new uniforms for the members of the guard. "For us it`s about being an Iowan, and being in Des Moines here, and of course with some of the recent happenings, it just so happens that this has all come together at this time, but for us it`s about supporting our local police," said Chris Uglum of Pivot Wealth Strategies.
To donate to the cause, click here: