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WOMEN MAKE HISTORY IN VFW COLOR GUARD

Two women from Brainerd, Minn., make history as the first female members of their Post's Color Guard.

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                        Patricia Wing (left) and Sherri Beaupre.

Last year at her uncle’s funeral, Sherri Beaupre saw the Color Guard perform the 21-gun salute and fold the flag.

“It left a deep impression on me,” she said. “I felt extremely proud, and it moved me as I saw what it meant for the families and to the memory of the fallen hero.”

This experience inspired Beaupre to become one of the first women in the Brainerd Color Guard, along with fellow Post member Patricia Wing.

Wing has been a member of VFW Post 1647 since 1994 and Quartermaster of the Post since 1996.

“I thought it would be a great way of honoring our veterans for their service, and I wanted to be a part of that,” Beaupre said.

The VFW Color Guard provides support and honor to fallen veterans by performing the 21-gun salute and full military honors at funerals. This group of veterans also protects the national colors and marches in parades.

“I used to watch the Color Guard perform in parades and funerals,” said Wing. “Sometimes there were more Color Guard members at funerals than family members. I wanted to help honor our veterans like they did.”

In the past, the Color Guard of Post 1647, and others around the nation, have typically been comprised of men. But with the number of women joining the military increasing in the last few decades, more women veterans are joining the ranks.

“It would be wonderful to have more women in the Color Guard,” said Beaupre. “The presence of women in the Color Guard brings awareness that women have been a big part of our efforts as a nation.”

“We’ll change their minds,” said Wing. “The world will begin to see we are all accepted, including women, and are an important part of honoring our military.”

Wing served as a military police officer from 1971-74, spending one year in Korea. Becoming a member of the Color Guard was her way of giving back to veterans.

Beaupre, Lifetime Member of Post 1647, served in Korea just a short time after graduating high school. She comes from a military family. Her father, husband, sister and son have all served and are now veterans, and she is extremely proud of them.

“There are so many veterans that have done so much for me. To have the opportunity to honor them humbles me tremendously,” Beaupre concluded.

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