N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--May 1998

Guard Honors Deceased

RALEIGH — The military precision of the salute and march of members of the Division of Prisons Honor Guard is a result of drill and hard work.

With their crisp appearance and precise motions, they serve at the funerals of division employees and retirees. In twelve years, the Honor Guard has taken part in 162 services. Prison employees can fill out a form requesting the Honor Guard to appear at their funeral. If time permits, the Guard also tries to honor requests made by families after an employee dies.

"The Honor Guard raises the esprit de corps of the division," said George Solomon assistant chief of security and a former Honor Guard commander. "It adds an air of professionalism at a time when we pay respect."

On a bright spring morning, members assemble in a Raleigh funeral home chapel and practice changing of the guard. The slow salutes and quick turns are an important part of the posting of the Honor Guard at a visitation before a funeral.

The chapel doors open onto two flights of steep brick steps that lead to the sidewalk. Honor Guard members carry a casket down the slope, keeping the casket level all the way down, march down the sidewalk and then back up the steps.

"It’s very gratifying to be able to do this for the families," said Sgt. Franklin Primus of Piedmont Correctional Institution. "Our role is to honor the deceased and the state of North Carolina."

The Honor Guard is made up of 32 members. Lt. Leonard Hatley of the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women is the Honor Guard commander. Sgt. Herbert Davis of Central Prison serves as assistant commander. There are three squads led by Sgt. Primus, Correctional Officer Frank Harris of Hoke Correctional Institution and Sgt. Michael Logan of IMPACT West.

Honoring the lives of people who devoted their careers to working in the state’s prisons is important to Sgt. Davis. He has one of the team’s most difficult duties. He presents the folded North Carolina flag to the family. "It’s important for us to show our respect," said Davis who takes pride in the Honor Guard tradition. "For we all hope to be remembered and praised for our service and want our families to be proud and comforted." u

NC DOC Correction News- May 1998
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