Appleton, Wis. (WFRV) – In 1958, Seymour native Melvin Klarner got his notice from what he calls his ‘friendly neighbors.’ He was going to be drafted into the U.S. Army.

“I was in the medics, it was a learning experience. I wasn’t given a pharmacy job because I couldn’t pronounce the words,” Klarner recalls. “The state of Washington was as far as I got as far as being active, but I did put my feet in the Pacific Ocean, that didn’t qualify me for being overseas, though.”

Klanrer finished his service in 1960 and though he never went overseas, he found his way back into service at home – Joining American Legion Post 60 in Kimberly and the Honor Guard.

“My kid brother, my brother Edward. Well, I call him ‘kid’ but he was actually my older brother,” Klarner jokes. “He was involved with the Honor Guard, he was actually the Color Guard Commander, so he twisted my arm.”

That arm twisting was done back in 1996 – And now, after more than 20 years, Klarner is still a member of the Honor Guard today. 

He estimates he’s participated in more than 650 veteran funerals, and held positions at the post from Commander, to his current historian.

And there’s one simple reason Klarner does it – It’s a different kind of pay. 

“It’s an honor to do it, I think it’s a tribute, they deserve it. Somebody has to do it so I still volunteer to do it. The pay is good, the pay is really good. And the best pay is that someone coming up and saying, ‘Thank you,” Klarner said.