New Vehicle to Honor the Honor Guard

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Some veterans were handed the keys to a brand-new minivan on Tuesday, a gift that will help them continue to give back to other vets.

The members of the AMVETS Post 189 honor guard don't ask for much. Now, decades of humility and service are paying off.

"I was amazed, and I'm still amazed. I couldn't imagine being given a gift of this size, but we surely do appreciate it," said Korean War veteran John Phillips.

The honor guard was given the gift a brand-new Sienna by Toyota of Scranton. The van will transport the members to veterans' funerals.

They serve at 150 funerals each year.

"We were scrounging along. We used our own vehicles for a while, and then gradually we were able to buy one vehicle, a second-hand vehicle," Phillips said.

The new van replaces a 1990 Chevy van. The members of the honor guard say it still runs OK, but it's been tough finding replacement parts.

"Well, the old van, it's outside and as you can tell, it's got a few miles on it and it's getting costly to maintain and whatnot," said Army veteran Bernie McDonald.

As Toyota of Scranton CFO Patrick Rogers handed over the keys, he was thinking about his dad, a veteran too, who passed away earlier this year.

"These guys showed up with the flag and the Taps. It really meant a lot to the whole family, and to have this opportunity today on behalf of Toyota of Scranton to be able to present this to AMVETS, it's a personal connection you didn't expect to have," said Rogers.

As this honor guard ages, its members say it gets tougher and tougher for them to give back. They're hoping the new van drives up membership and its message reminds military families what they're here for.

"Let the families out there know that AMVETS do care and we will continue to perform the final detail to the best of our ability," McDonald added.

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