AURORA, Colo. (11/3/12) – The Colorado Army National Guard’s Honor Guard marched and saluted its way into first place Oct. 13 at the Colorado State Honor Guard Symposium and Competition at Castle View High School in Castle Rock, Colo.
The team’s competition included six honor guard teams from fire departments, law enforcement, emergency medical service agencies and militaries.
“It really makes you feel good about what you do and the level that you do it at when your peers rank you as the best among them,” said Staff Sgt. Kyle Harden, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the honor guard. “It’s a very good feeling — it makes me very proud.”
The honor guard team is made up of seven NCOs including Harden, 1st Sgt. Mitchell Landers, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Landers, Sgt. Daniel Breneman, Sgt. Gabriel Gonzalez, Cpl. Brandon Behrens and Sgt. Steven Gerdjikian.
Harden said he thinks his team won the traveling trophy because the Guard is constantly honing its skills at events that honor veterans.
“We have a lot of events that we go to do the color guard,” he said. “I’m sad to say that we do a lot of funerals, and our guys are much more than proficient at doing those tasks.”
The seven Soldiers traveled to Castle Rock for the second annual event, hosted by the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters Honor Guard Academy.
The symposium was set up as an optional one-day, conference-style training event open to all honor guards from fire departments, law enforcement, emergency medical service agencies and military.
Activities at the symposium included a parade of colors of the participating agencies, posting of colors, a variety of breakout sessions, and a competition portion with an honor guard demonstration.
Harden said he thinks it is important to remember why honor guards are in place.
“I think it’s a duty that we owe the people who came before us,” said Harden. “When letters of gratitude come through our office from family members, it lets me know that we made them feel proud of their family members and everything they had done — and that makes it worth it to me.”