* NATIONAL HONOR GUARD ACADEMY *
Instructor Beechler is currently a Technician/Paramedic with Frederick County (VA) Fire Department, and has been involved in EMS since 1990. She is a 2007 graduate of the Academy, and joined the staff shortly afterwards, always wanting to pay it forward to insure teams are properly prepared. As former Commander of the city of Fairfax (VA), she brings a high level of organization to the NHGA staff. Amy is currently a member of the Overhead Team for the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend and a member of the Virginia LAST team.
Instructor Burrow lives in Mechanicsville, Virginia with his awesome wife Carrie and three children: Lauren, Conner, and Aiden. He began his career in the fire service in 2005 with Hanover Fire and EMS. Jason was promoted to Lieutenant in 2014 and currently serves as a Shift Commander. In addition to his service with Hanover Fire he has been a drilling reservist for the United States Air Force/Air National Guard since 2004. He attended the National Honor Guard Academy in 2007 and earned his instructorship in 2014. As a member of the Hanover Fire Honor Guard since 2005, he has gone on to become the Commander in 2013 where he still serves in this capacity. Jason is also a member of the Central Virginia All Hazard Incident Management Team and the Virginia Local Assistance State Team. Family is Jason’s number one priority, his own of course, but also the families of those he works with and for. He consistently exemplifies the Family First mantra and endeavors to reinforce the same principle in the students.
Instructor Bury lives in Fort Worth,Texas with his lovely wife Elisha and daughter Emma (a bucket of craziness). He is a firefighter with Fort Worth Fire Department since 2010 and is a member of the Technical Rescue Team. He is also the Commander for his department’s honor guard. Kevin is an academy graduate and enjoys the interaction (in his unique style) and the networking that the course provides. In 1999, he joined the United States Marine Corps and developed a true love of drill and ceremony. Kevin still proudly serves in the Marine Corps Reserve and has been deployed to Iraq twice. He is dedicated to caring for the families of the fallen and feels that the family and their wishes should always be held above all else. The passion runs deep with this one!
Instructor Fellingham lives in Durham, NC where she is a Patrol Officer for the Durham Police Department. She was born in Columbia, SC raised in Palacios, TX and graduated high school in Marion, NC. She did 4 years of Navy Junior ROTC in high school where she went to three National competitions for Drill and Ceremony, and took home 1st place several times for Armed Individual Exhibition Drill. Audrey was also honored, during her time in the JROTC, to participate in several funerals for fallen retired Navy veterans where she performed Taps as part of the funerals. After high school in 2003, Instructor Fellingham joined the Army and served two years active duty with two deployments to Iraq during that time. In 2011 Audrey joined the Army Reserves as a CBRN specialist and performs Color Guard details for her reserve unit whenever they are needed. She keeps drill and ceremony as well as customs and courtesies one of the main things she passes down to younger soldiers to insure that history and traditions endure. Following her active duty time Audrey became a correctional officer where she learned invaluable skills to help her later when she became a police officer for Metro Nashville Police Department in 2013. In 2015, Audrey moved to Durham to be closer to her family and was hired onto Durham PD in August of 2016. Since joining DPD, Instructor Fellingham became a member of their honor guard and is the Training Coordinator for her team. She loves her regular job as a Patrol Officer but enjoys the opportunity to display what the honor guard is called to do whenever she can. Instructor Fellingham is a 2019 graduate of the NHGA and continues to perfect the skills she’s learned over the years and with the NHGA as an Instructor. She places high measure on the importance of training and strives to honor all who serve in appropriate fashion.
Instructor Garner hails from Newburg, PA where he lives with his wife and son. Jeff is a Captain with Loudoun County Fire and Rescue and also serves as a Health and Safety Officer and Commander of the Honor Guard Team. He has been in the fire service since 1993 and began working for Loudoun County in 2007. In 2008, Jeff joined his department’s honor guard where he finds tremendous reward in honoring our fallen and caring for the ones they leave behind. He has served as the team’s Commander since 2011. Jeff is also a member of the Virginia LAST and very active with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Memorial Weekend Staff. Because of the initial and lasting impact on a grieving family, Instructor Garner is ever diligent in the preparation and execution of the duties of the honor guard to ensure proper honors are rendered and that all is done so with the utmost dignity and respect.
Instructor Gavurnik resides in Stephens City, Va with his wife of 16 years and two teenage daughters. After being born and raised in central New York State, he escaped the taxes and settled in Virginia where he is currently a Captain in Fire Operations with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire and Rescue Department. Chris has spent over 25 years in the Fire and EMS field and has been with the Authority since 2003. In 2005 he was one the founding team members of the Authority’s Honor Guard and has been the Honor Guard Commander since 2015. Chris is a 2012 graduate of the National Honor Guard Academy and also serves as a Hazardous Materials Specialist his department. Instructor Gavurnik continually places service above self and sees great value in making sure new guard members remember the sacrifice of our fallen and that their families are honored and properly cared for.
Instructor Horne comes to us from the Commonwealth of Virginia and hails from Mechanicsville just outside of the City of Richmond. Zac has been a NHGA instructor since 2016. He served our country honorably in the USMC from 1989 until 2001 and continues to serve in the Coast Guard Reserve since 2008. Zac is married and the father of 5. He is the Executive Officer of the Hanover County Sheriff’s Honor Guard. Additionally, Zach holds several other leadership positions within HCSO and is an intricate member of the Critical Incident Team. Outside of the Sheriff’s Office, Zac is an active member of several Veteran organizations and his service driven ethics are a valuable asset to the staff as well as a shining example to those he comes in contact with.
Instructor Irby is the Deputy Fire Chief for Spotsylvania County, (VA) Fire and Rescue Department where he has worked since 2001. He lives in Spotsylvania with his wife and son where he cheers on the UVA Cavaliers. Aside from being the DC he also the Honor Guard Commander. Jason has been involved in the fire service since 1996 and has a great passion to make sure that all received the honors bestowed upon them. This is seen in his involvement with the Virginia LAST, The Virginia LODD Memorial as Vice Commander, and in his participation with the command and coordination of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial for the last several years as a Detail Commander. In his spare time Jason is also an Adjunct Instructor for his department and State Certified Fire Instructor for the Commonwealth of Virginia, a member of his department's Technical Rescue Team. Jason likes to share a quote by Calvin Coolidge; “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” It is because of this Jason gives all of himself to help honor others and makes him a perfect fit as an NHGA Instructor as he gives 110% every time all the time to every person, class and detail.
Instrtuctor Jacobs is a native of Fauquier County, VA and a graduate of Ferrum College. She currently lives in Roanoke, VA with her husband and daughter. In 2011, Cara became an officer with the Roanoke County Police Department and in that time, she has held many positions to include General Instructor and Drill Instructor at the police academy, as well as traffic enforcement officer, specializing in DUI enforcement and instructing as a state certified drug recognition expert (DRE). Cara became a member of the Roanoke County Police Department Honor Guard in 2013 and currently holds the position of team leader. In July 2013, she graduated from The National Honor Guard Academy and immediately made an impact on her team for her discipline and attention to detail. Her integrity and desire to teach others are a perfect fit for the Honor Guard, who strive to serve others when needed most.
Instructor Morphis is an Academy Graduate and has helped his department host numerous classes. He lives in Denton Texas with his wife and son. When not at work he spends his days off watching his son Kai. He loves spending time with his family, cooking out and listening to music. He was worked for the Rowlett Fire Department since 2006 and joined their honor guard two years later. He has served in multiple billets to include team member and Honor Guard Commander. Prior to beginning his career in public safety, he served in the United States Navy for 5 years from 2000-2005. He was an Assault Craft Operator BM2 with Beach Master Unit 1 in Coronado California. He deployed in support of OEF 2002-2004. He believes in honoring our fallen and doing so with dignity and respect. He is always striving to take care of the families and honor their wishes.
Instructor Patterson currently lives in Georgia with his wife and three wonderful children. Jeff started his career in the fire service in 1989 working for departments in both Florida and Georgia during his career. Jeff retired after 28 years of service rising through the ranks before completing his career as a Special Operations Chief. Jeff continues his involvement with the fire service and public safety as an Instructor, member of an Incident Management Team, as well as a member of Urban Search and Rescue teams in both Florida and Georgia. Jeff’s experience with public safety honor guards began in 2004 and Jeff is very active with the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service command staff. Jeff is a true humanitarian which is evident each time he encounters families of our fallen heroes. His compassion and dedication are apparent to every NHGA student he encounters.
Instructor Robles, a graduate of NHGA, was born in Tucson, AZ and raised in Odessa, TX and he and his family currently live in Plains, Texas. Upon graduating from High School, Bill enlisted in the USMC, serving honorably for four years. After leaving the Corps, he joined the Texas Dept. of Public Safety as a State Trooper. In 2010, he became a member of the TX DPS Honor Guard. 2011 was a big year for Bill as he was promoted to Sergeant and became the Assistant Commander of the Honor Guard. Instructor Robles’ passion and attention to detail is insurmountable. He strives to live and teach the words of Robert Cheeke; “Pay Close attention to detail in whatever it is you are doing. Be specific and expect quality from your performance.”