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Angie Wieck, Published November 10 2013

It's My Job: Guard member provides military funeral honors throughout northwest Minn.

MOORHEAD – Miranda Marum asked her parents for permission to enlist in the Minnesota Army National Guard when she was just 17 years old.

Marum, now an E4 Specialist, said it was a move she always considered because several of her relatives have served in the military. The events of 9/11 solidified the decision.

As she celebrated 10 years of service this summer, she was afforded a new opportunity to serve her country. Narum was asked to fill in with the Minnesota Military Funeral Honors Program, soldiers who provide military funeral honors for veterans.

Marum found the work so rewarding that she chose to continue with the program when a permanent position became available.

What services does your team provide?

We provide a firing party, taps, the flag fold, and presentation (of the flag) to the next of kin. A lot of the time we will team up with that region’s veterans organization such as the VFW or American Legion. They’ll do the firing party and someone will play the bugle, but we’ll do the flag fold and presentation. That’s something they are not used to doing that we are trained for.

Are all veterans eligible?

Yes. We will provide military honors for veterans of any branch of the military. A family member just needs to provide the veteran’s discharge papers.

How far will you travel for services?

There are teams in Minneapolis, Moorhead, Duluth, St. Cloud and Rochester. Our team covers the northwest part of Minnesota.

Is there a charge to families?

No, it is a free service. The program is funded by the government.

How do you cope?

Knowing that anyone is grieving and suffering from a loss is always going to be hard, but that veteran was in the military for a reason. He (or she) served the country and has earned these rights. If we weren’t there to do it, who would do this for them?

I think the enjoyable part about it (the job) is that it is rewarding. I feel we are giving back to the family and giving them closure to this part of their lives.

Especially with World War II and Korean War vets, I often see where they were on deployment, came home, and that’s when they met their spouse. Many never knew the military side of their spouse’s life. The same goes for their children and grandchildren. Seeing how honored they feel is what touches you and keeps you going in the job.

How can someone request your services?

Call Staff Sgt. Aaron Borgerding at (218) 269-9280 or email aaron.m.

borgerding2.mil@mail.mil.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Angie Wieck at (701) 241-5501