"We do not charge for any of them. We feel an honor that we can have this funeral for any military Veteran, and to give them closure to their family," says Burial Team leader Joe Stoll. He tells us outside organizations donate funds to the team to ensure service men and women are laid to rest respectfully. "The men who are in the detail are very devoted to it, and they want to continue it, and they want to service the Veterans and give them what they really deserve," says Stoll.
But, recently the 11-47 Post Commander, Harry Andres, requested the team donate their three thousand dollar budget to help the organization with its overall expenses. Stoll says the team refused to give it up so Andres told them to disband. Stoll says,"The Commander contacted the District Commander who came down, and said that the money had to go under the post itself. Prior to this it was not."
The dispute has led to an even bigger problem of whether or not a meaningful service for local fallen soldiers can and will continue. Stolls says,"Some of the fellows were upset with this situation and they retired or quit the funeral detail. The VFW post, well they had around twenty-five or thirty people. Today we're lucky to get eight people." So the team is teaming up with a fellow organization for help. "That's why we've gone in with Owensville, the legion over there," says Stoll. Even with this setback, Stoll tells us the men will do their best to make sure every Veteran receives the burial they deserve. Stoll adds, "We just have to wait and see."
Post Commander Harry Andres declined to comment on camera, but tells us the Burial Team is in violation of the VFW's 'manual procedure'. He also says the team's budget was spent on leisure activities, and not just burial expenses. We're told the national organization is still investigating the dispute.