GREENVILLE — Zechar-Bailey/Bailey-Zechar Funeral Home honors veterans throughout the year.
In time for Veteran’s Day, a memorial was erected on the front lawn area at its North Broadway address in Greenville, complete with a flag pole and stone indicating each of the branches of service.
Now, at Christmas time, the funeral home is once again working with local families to get boxes shipped to military personnel serving all over the world, including here in the United States.
According to Phillip Pierri at Zechar Bailey, the funeral home does honor the veterans.
“We do discounts here [for the veterans] and work hand-in-hand with them all of the time,” Pierri said. “We provide a 6×12-inch plaque with the [deceased] veteran’s name, his/her branch of service and the years served and place in on the new monument, then give it to the family after their funeral service is over. We fly their respective flags then give it to the family. This is all lit up at night.”
As for troops at Christmastime, Zechar Bailey provides boxes, and churches or individuals pick them up and bring them back to the facility filled with their gifts.
“We used to fill out the forms, but the families do it now,” Pierri said. “A bunch of churches are doing it.”
This gesture, according to Pierri, started in 2001 or 2002 when the battle in Iraqi started.
“Our main reason is to honor all veterans served,” said Pierri, whose brother, R.C. Pierri, is in the military and stationed at Fort Bragg. “We try to go over and above what we do here [at the funeral home].”
Those wanting to send boxes to the troops can fill them with whatever. The funeral home has a detailed list of what items are acceptable and what are not.
It was noted that the most popular requested items for the care packages are: Letters, coffee and Baby Wipes; travel of sample sizes recommended; and non-perishable food items acceptable. It was pointed out that pork or pork by-products, fruit and yeast are not allowed at Middle East locations, and shoppers are advised to be sure to check packaged beef and jerky products by reading the label.
“More recently we have been using priority postal boxes from the post office,” he said. “People can then pick whoever they want to receive their box.”
Other items on the list of acceptable gifts are toiletries, newspaper clippings, books and magazines, newly release music CDs, hand-held games, cards, small flashlight with red lens, sunglasses preferably non-mirror with ballistic clear lunar gray tint lenses, tactical green duct tape, black electrical tape, Frisbee/Nerf toys/HackySack; and clothing.
As noted before, there is a list of recommended items for preparing the care packages at the funeral home.
According to Pierri, more than 4,000 boxes for troops have been sent since the funeral home started this service.
Because they no longer have to open the boxes before they are sent, those at the funeral home did see where a lot of candies and toiletries were being sent before.
“Sending boxes can be done year-round; it’s just that this is a bigger time of year now,” Pierri said.