OHIO VALLEY — Since last summer, a group of Appalachian women have gathered together as nurses to remember the causes of nurses and celebrate their lives after they have moved on from this world.
“It’s a nurse honor guard group and we’ve been performing tributes to our fallen colleagues since summer of last year,” said Nurse Honor Guard of the Ohio Valley President Jan Holcomb. “We just want to get the word out there to let people know that this is a free service for anyone that’s been a nurse and dedicated their life (to serving others).”
Holcomb said that groups such as the Ohio Valley organization had been forming all over the U.S. for the last few years. Around 70 individuals are members of the Nurse Honor Guard of the Ohio Valley. The group is currently in the midst of seeking its nonprofit tax status.
Holcomb said she stumbled onto such groups through the internet while perusing social media. She and a group of colleagues felt pulling together a nurse honor guard would be a worthwhile activity.
“It’s an entirely volunteer organization, ” said Holcomb. “We service a 50-mile radius from Gallipolis so the majority of our services have been in Gallia County. We have done a couple in Cabell County and one in Jackson. That’s our service area and there are other organizations slowly developing around us so we try to communicate because we don’t want it to be a competitive thing. We want to serve our fallen colleagues… We work with each other.”
The group is not affiliated with any specific employer.
“Nurses knew that we were talking and getting this started and other nurses have had interest to join us so we’re not affiliated with any hospitals and we’re freestanding,” said Holcomb. “We’re still growing. We don’t ask for any donations but we do accept them. We do present memorial things to a family during a service.”
Holcomb said the honor guard services are roughly five minutes long. The guard recites a synopsis of a nurse’s career, gives a Nightingale tribute during the service, a lamp and a nurse remembrance Bible to the family of the deceased. A white rose is placed on the casket of the deceased. Honor guard members dress in formal nurse attire.
For more information, visit the Nurse Honor Guard of the Ohio Valley Facebook page or email nursehonorguardoftheOhiovalley@gmail.com.
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