John Montgomery, the band director at Memorial Middle School in Hilliard, recently was recognized for his impromptu — and prompt — service of playing taps at the funeral of a military veteran last month.

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John Montgomery, left, shakes hands with American Legion Memorial Post 614 representative Tim Shigley after being honored for his impromptu service of playing taps at the funeral of a military veteran last month. Montgomery is the band director at Memorial Middle School in Hilliard.

Representatives of American Legion Memorial Post 614 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4931 recognized Montgomery Dec. 8 at a holiday concert at which he was directing students.

“It was a complete surprise to me,” Montgomery said.

The Legion and VFW wanted to recognize Montgomery for his service and planned the surprise, said Bill Ihrig, a past commander of American Legion Memorial Post 614.

During a Nov. 13 graveside service for Homer Charles, 91, a U.S. Army veteran from Georgetown, at Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Norwich Township, a malfunction occurred with equipment needed to play taps, said Robbie Thomas, cemetery sexton for the township.

Officials decided to call the school district to ask whether a trumpet or bugle player were available, Ihrig said.

That call eventually led to Montgomery.

“I missed my lunch but I was glad to be able to help out,” said Montgomery, who was at the cemetery within an hour to play taps.

Montgomery played trumpet in the Ohio State University marching band from 1993 to 1996 and continues performing today with the Brass Band of Columbus.

He has been employed by Hilliard City Schools for 12 years and is a teacher at Station Sixth Grade School and Bradley High School in addition to his job as band director at Memorial Middle School.

// By Kevin Corvo – This Week Community News