April 30, 2012
What began as a mere request has turned into a dream come true for Craig Silvey, of Sedalia.
In December 2010, Silvey received a call to see if he could round up some boys to carry the service flags for the dedication of the Veterans Memorial Walk of Honor at the Pettis County Courthouse.
Silvey is an advisor for the Sisilija Chapter of the Order of the Arrow, the honor society of the Boy Scouts.
“Having a color guard has been a dream of mine for some time,” Silvey said. “During the week of phone calls, Dale Hogan, assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 61, and I talked about having a color guard but how difficult it was within a troop. With that, the idea was born to host the color guard in the Sisilija Chapter of the Order of the Arrow.”
He was able to get 10 scouts to help with the ceremony. Jim Gaertner, Show Me Honor Flight vice president, suggested Silvey speak with Joe Cochran about how to run a color guard.
Cochran is the commander of American Legion Post 642 Color Guard and flag folder/presenter for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2591 Honor Detail. Cochran, who is known for his flag etiquette, was up to the challenge.
The Sisilija Color Guard was officially formed in January 2011. Patrick Hoffmann, an Eagle Scout from Boy Scout Troop 61, was elected the guard commander.
“We had the first practice with about six scouts,” Silvey said. “Since then, the number of scouts in the guard has grown. Their skills have expanded and they have presented the colors 16 times since February 2011.”
Kearn McCullough, a member of Troop 61, is a color guard member.
“Dale Hogan presented me the offer to join the guard at a camp out and I thought it sounded fun so I decided to join,” McCullough said.
At a recent practice, McCullough called out the command, “Mark time march,” then started marching in place with fellow scouts Mitchell Shaw, Daniel Parker and James Kreisel.
Cochran was there to assist and lead. He didn’t cut them any slack, as he heard their feet not marching in sync.
“You’re sounding like horses,” he said. “You’re going too fast.”
The boys slowed down their march and began to sound in unison.
“I like marching down there with feet in perfect synchronization, presenting the colors, posting them,” McCullough said. “Without Mr. Cochran, I doubt we’d be where we are.”
The boys don’t only perform for scout functions. They’ve also opened the meetings of the Sedalia Dinner Club, participated in the Veterans Day parade and in the 50th anniversary program honoring Vietnam veterans.
Kreisel, member of Troop 54, has been part of the guard since the beginning. He was given the privilege of calling the commands for a recent court of honor held for Troop 54 on April 23. He enjoys serving on the guard.
“I feel special,” he said.
Cochran tries to emphasize how special the boys are at their practice.
“Remember this — every time you present colors, every time you carry the American flag, there’s always some military individuals somewhere watching. As long as you show proper dignity and pride in the way you present yourself with the colors, believe me, that’s an ‘atta boy’ and a feather in your cap,” he said. “You guys are great. I’m proud of every one of you.”
According to the American Legion, the Sisilija Chapter Color Guard is the only fully trained and outfitted Boy Scout Color Guard unit in the nation.
“These boys show up. Some of them are really so humble, they really don’t wave their own flags. All I have to do is call them and they are there. They understand what honor and citizenship is. That’s why I’m so proud of them,” Silvey said.
Right now there are eight members in the color guard and three members in the auxiliary color guard.
“One of the goals that I have for our color guard unit is to continue to grow with scouts from each of the troops in the Osage Trails District being a part of this unit,” said Hogan, who also is an advisor for the Sisilija Chapter.
People wishing to have the color guard perform at a local event may call Silvey at 829-1965 or Hogan at 826-5113.