Honor, duty, integrity & professionalism: hallmarks of White Mountain Honor Guard members

Men in uniforms of various agencies standing outside at the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation Memorial.
White Mountain National Forest Law Enforcement Officer Diron Thompkins participating in ceremonies at the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation Memorial. Forest Service photo.

NEW HAMPSHIRE—The White Mountain National Forest is proud to announce that two employees from Pemigewasset Ranger District are part of the elite 30-person Honor Guard. Matthew Yeramian, visitor services supervisor, was recently selected to join the team while Law Enforcement Officer Diron Thompkins has served since 2010.

The mission of the USDA Forest Service Honor Guard is to honor and remember Forest Service employees who have sacrificed their lives for the safety and security of national forests, employees and the public. The Honor Guard is proud to honor these employees by providing full honors funeral and graveside services and by participating in ceremonies and official events when called upon by the Chief of the Forest Service. Members of this esteemed group maintain an image that promotes its core values of honor, duty, integrity and professionalism.

Former Army Staff Sergeant Diron Thompkins said, “I am humbled to be part of the Honor Guard.” While standing guard at the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Thompkins experienced firsthand the positive impact he can have. “A family entered the memorial and were grieving their loved one. A child with their parent was crying. Then he looked up at me and stopped crying,” Thompkins recounted. “Providing the smallest bit of comfort to that family is something I will never forget.”

“It is important for us to carry on the tradition of supporting the families of the fallen,” explained retired Marine Staff Sergeant Matthew Yeramian. “Being part of this tight-knit group brings a similar camaraderie I experienced while serving in the Marines. In the Forest Service we talk about how we are family, and there is nothing more important than supporting your family during hard times.”

Over the past decade, the Honor Guard has become ingrained as an essential part of the agency, paying tribute to employees who dedicate their time, skills and efforts to make the Forest Service successful. In 2010, the Honor Guard was adopted as a national program and is working toward having representation nationwide.