Everyday Hero: Kirk makes mission of honoring fallen soldiers
NATCHEZ — Adam Kirk makes it his mission to see that fallen soldiers are given a proper final goodbye.
Kirk is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq from 2004 to 2006 as a Calvary scout, and he knows personally the lengths soldiers go to in order to protect America.
But Kirk said it’s heartbreaking to go to a veteran’s funeral avnd see there hasn’t been a proper military service for them.
“The military has downsized so much, that if you have a military funeral, they will send two guys out there to fold the flags,” Kirk said. “There are no riflemen or anything present.”
In 2013, Kirk decided to join the Miss-Lou Veterans Coalition Honor Guards, an organization founded by Rodney Violette and Doug McCallister, both Vietnam veterans,
“I was never in an active duty honor guard, so I didn’t know what it all entailed, but I really liked the cause for it,” he said.
Kirk found out quickly that there are intricate details that go into performing a military funeral and parades.
“We started to train with our rifles first, and then learn the traditions,” Kirk said. “We’re a coalition, we’re not all just Army, we have Navy, Marines and Air Force, too, and we had to take from each branch what we wanted to honor everyone.
“For two weeks we would train every day, checking the traditions and regulations as far as flags goes, like no flag should cross in front of an American flag. There are little things we do that, unless you’re a vet, you wouldn’t notice.”
Along with his three jobs, Kirk volunteers his time with the Honor Guard and has performed approximately 39 funerals.
McCallister said Kirk has been a big part of the Honor Guard even with his other obligations.
“He is very dedicated to the mission of our Honor Guard, and he is always willing to practice and hardly without fail, he shows up for us,” McCallister said. “He is an asset in any organization he joins. It’s an honor for me to serve with him, and I’m glad to call him a brother.”
Though it takes up a lot of his time, Kirk said he continues to do out of respect for his fallen soldiers and to help the families cope.
“It’s very emotional, especially during Taps. It is just as hard for us sometimes,” Kirk said. “The families are just happy, it’s like it’s a surprise to them when we come out. It’s a big impact when you see someone being honored in such a way, and that’s what it’s about, trying to carry on this tradition because people are forgetting about the veterans.”
Kirk and the Honor Guard are currently preparing to perform a ceremony at First Baptist Church in Vidalia Sunday.
Kirk hasn’t been able to participate in any ceremonies in nearly two months since a motorcycle accident left him disabled with a broken pelvis and arm until he was cleared from his doctor this week.