Honor Guard celebrates 28 years, seeks new members

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Rich Dominiak led the Lansing Veterans Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard in a presentation of colors at the February 18 Lansing Village Board meeting. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
by Carrie Steinweg

LANSING, Ill. (February 29, 2020) – It was 28 years ago this month that the Lansing Veterans Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard (LVMCHG) was formed. The group hopes to continue doing what they do for many years to come, but it will depend on whether or not they can recruit new members as they move forward.

A lot has happened in the nearly three decades the group has existed. Early members have aged, faced health issues, retired, moved, or passed away. “We’re trying to find some younger people to help us,” said Rich Dominiak, who is one of the original members of the LVMCHG.

Dominiak expressed how fortunate the group is to have acquired recent member Clara Gonzalez, who is active in the community and who was a color guard member in the Navy. “We need more people like her,” he said. Gonzalez joins 13 current members, some who have been with the organization for many years and aren’t able to participate as frequently as they once were. A minimum of four honor guard members is needed to post colors, but for other events the need increases. If covering two rifles and all service flags and the POW/MIA flag, nine members are needed. Events at the Lansing Veterans Memorial require the participation of at least 14.

Currently there are 10 people on the roster who are physically able to participate in all activities, and their participation is then subject to availability in working around their own family and work obligations. Dominiak said that they’ve been able to continue with activities at the memorial in recent years with the help of local Boy Scouts and Civil Air Patrol cadets. “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have enough to raise the flags,” he said.

The LVMCHG was established March 29, 1992, at the Lansing Municipal Airport at the request of Tom Luberda, president of the Lansing Veterans memorial. “He felt the memorial needed a military-type group to perform services at the memorial. The group could also represent the memorial at parades, services, etc. in and outside the Lansing community,” said Dominiak. Dominiak and Larry Grzywinski recruited enough people to get started and organized the group’s events.

The LVMCHG has about 20 different events on the calendar each year. “They participate in services at the Lansing Veterans Memorial as well as in parades, memorial dedications, and posting of colors inside and outside of Lansing,” said Dominiak. Their most recent presentation of colors was at a Lansing Village Board meeting where the new Hometown Heroes banner program was introduced.

Rich Dominiak led the Lansing Veterans Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard in a presentation of colors at the February 18 Lansing Village Board meeting. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Some highlights from the LVMCHG history include posting colors at Ross Perot’s Presidential election rally at Rosemont Convention Center in 1992, posting colors at Congressman Jerry Weller’s inauguration ceremony at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet in 1994 and being lead color guard in Chicago’s South Side Irish Parade in 2007. The group has has received several trophies and recognitions as a “first place for a military marching group” in area parades, according to Dominiak. You can look for them at the front of the Lansing Good Neighbor Day taking place on May 2.

As far as member criteria, Dominiak said that new members must have served in the military or be currently serving in the military. For more information or membership questions, call 708-862-7731. You can also follow “Lansing Veterans Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard” on Facebook for updates.