Tribute to Fallen Soldiers group visits Greenwood VFW Post 5864

On July 21 Greenwood VFW Memorial Post 5864 was visited by the Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Northwest entourage. This visit was spearheaded and made possible by Voyageur Mike Delaney along with VFW Commander Steve Milbourn’s approval to use the post home to house and feed this extraordinary group of patriots led by Executive Director Warren Williamson.

The Tribute to Fallen Soldiers is a nonprofit group that honors fallen soldiers from all wars. They travel throughout the nation visiting Gold Star Families, presenting each Gold Star Family with a beautiful plaque honoring the soldier and a painting of their son, daughter, spouse, or parent. The plaques are donated by a trophy shop owned by a veteran and the paintings are donated by a patriotic individual. Only the shipping and packaging are paid for by the Tribute to Fallen Soldiers organization. Throughout their mission they travel with an Eternal Flame, which is guarded at all stops by a volunteer. The trailer which carries the Eternal Flame is in its third version. Designed by an engineer and built by a professional boat manufacturer from Oregon, the trailer is an intricate part of this group for the Flame represents each fallen soldier.

From left to right, VFW Commander, Greenwood VFW Memorial Post 5864, Steve Milbourn; The Forty and Eight, Voiture Locale 145 Chef de Gare, Jay Collars; and Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Executive Director, Warren Williamson. Williamson presented a Certificate of Appreciation to VFW Post 5864, Voiture Locale 145 (40 et 8) and The American Legion Post 1919. (Photo courtesy of Greenwood VFW Memorial Post 5864)

This particular mission began in Eugene, Ore. with about 35 motorcyclists and will cross the nation ending in the Arlington National Cemetery, Va. By the time they arrived in Greenwood the group numbered 12 riders. Riders join and drop out throughout their travels. They stopped at numerous cities and towns across the nation stopping overnight at VFW Post 5864 in Greenwood to enable them to visit and honor the Indianapolis Gold Star Family of Marine SSgt. Jeffry J. Reber. Prior to arriving in Greenwood, the group stopped at Logansport, Ind. to honor another Hoosier Gold Star Family. Their final stop will be Arlington National Cemetery, Va. where they lay a wreath and extinguish the eternal flame which travels with them on each mission. On this mission alone, by the time this group arrives at Arlington National Cemetery, they will have visited and honored 68 families across our nation. They average 65 to 75 Gold Star Families a year.

VFW Post 5864, Voiture Locale 145 (40 et 8) and The American Legion Post 1919 co-sponsored this overnight stop. The group was welcomed to Greenwood and Post 5864 by VFW Post 5864 Commander Steve Milbourn, The Forty and Eight, Voiture Locale 145 Chef de Gare Jay Collars and The American Legion Post 1919 Commander Kip Blake. Dinner was provided that evening and sleeping accommodations were provided by The American Red Cross loaning the VFW enough cots for our guests. Breakfast was prepared and served the next morning. Prior to departing, Executive Director Warren Williamson, the Tribute to Fallen Soldiers, presented a Certificate of Appreciation to all three of our organizations.