There is hidden treasure in the Lower Yakima Valley. The treasure cannot be found on a map, for the treasure is made of gems spread throughout the valley.
These gems are also heroes. They are men and women who live among us. Without the request of recognition, they come together to create a treasure. These gems served our country during times of war and peace, this makes them heroes.
Their continued service, though, makes them treasures. The characteristic of their service has changed. They are no longer off serving our nation on foreign soil or protecting our freedoms on American soil. Instead, they are in our own back yard, serving their fellow comrades and their comrade's mourning families.
This job comes without service medals. This job comes without compensation. This job requires them to face their comrade's heartbroken bride or child. This job is that of a member of the Lower Valley Veterans Honor Guard, the valley's hidden treasure.
We recently laid my grandfather, Charles Paul, a WWII veteran, to rest. The Lower Valley Veterans Honor Guard was there. They did not have to be. I am sure many of them never met my grandfather, but they came just the same. They honored him with a 21-gun salute and words about his sacrifice for our country that made my heart swell with pride.
It can't be fun, attending graveside service after graveside service, but they do it anyhow. They do it for their comrades and for their country. They are true patriots, gems, treasures; I just hope they know what it means to those of us left behind.
/s/ Cheyenne LaViolette, West Richland