Honor guard training draws from real loss | NevadaAppeal.com

Honor guard training draws from real loss

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal An honor guard practices carrying a casket while Kevin Kelly, father of Trooper Kara Borgognone, who was killed in February, looks on. Members of police and fire departments in the region took part in honor guard training in Carson City this week.

More than 50 honor guard members from fire and police departments in Nevada and California took part in a three-day honor guard class this week that ended in a mock funeral service for a very real victim.

At St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church on Friday afternoon, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Kara Borgognone was honored, much like she had been at her funeral four months ago. Borgognone, a Fallon native, died following a line-of-duty car accident on Feb. 25.

When the honor guard class needed to perform an actual funeral ceremony as part of their graduation, Borgognone’s father, Kevin Kelly, said he jumped at the chance to participate.

“It’s a way for me to give back. When Kara passed away, these people reached out to us,” he said. “And it’s just another way to honor Kara.”

Carson City Fire Captain Scott Baker said honor guard units from Carson City and Lyon County sheriff’s departments and the Reno Police Department took part in the classes along with the East Fork, Carson City, Reno, Sparks, Central Lyon County, Storey County, Mammoth, Reedley, Calif., Sonora, Calif., and North Lake Tahoe fire departments.

“Of all the police and fire around here, there’s very few that step up and do this,” said Baker. “It’s something that comes from within.”

The course, taught by the Goshen, Ind., honor guard, instructed units on procedures for acting as pallbearers, posting colors, guarding a coffin, draping a coffin, folding and presenting the American flag, Taps, rifle volleys, as well as marching and saluting with a weapon.

“We want to make this drill as real as possible,” explained Baker. “We want (the members) to feel what it will feel like at a real funeral.”

Baker said the joint training serves two fold. It gives units an opportunity to learn the basics, but also it makes those basics uniform among the agencies.

“Usually, it takes so many people to work a funeral that one department can’t do it alone,” he said. “We do mutual aid calls together, and we also do details together.”

Kevin Kelly said he hoped that the participants understood the value in what they do for grieving families.

“These things are so important,” he said. “And this is very cathartic for me too. I get to talk about my daughter. That’s good for me, you know? I like to talk about my daughter.”

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.