Anyone at a funeral for a law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty during the last decade has probably seen them.

They are six well-muscled, well-groomed, jet-black horses used to pull caskets atop a Civil War-era wagon to the deceased's final resting place.

Since the North Carolina Troopers Association Caisson Unit formed in 2007, it has been stationed in western North Carolina.

But now, for the first time in the unit's history, it has been relocated to Wayne County where it will be housed at a locally based unit member's home.

Bennie Grady joined the unit at the beginning of this year, and has been with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol for 15-and-a-half years.

"It's an honor just to be a part of it," Grady said.

The unit trained with N.C. State Highway Patrol troopers from all over the state at the Wayne County Fairgrounds Wednesday. The Caisson Unit participates, upon request, in funerals for fallen officers in North Carolina and all the states that touch its borders.

Highway patrol members are on call around the clock in case a law enforcement officer dies in the line of duty and the unit must be activated.

The names of the fallen who were carried to their final resting place by the Caisson Unit are listed on the side of the horses' trailer -- through the end of 2016, the unit had performed more than 60 funerals.

One of those funerals was for the late Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders.

Current Wayne County Sheriff Larry Pierce said he was excited and honored to have the unit stationed in Wayne County now.

Grady said the upkeep of the horses is a labor-intensive effort of love borne out of a sense of duty and honor.

"On a typical day, if I'm going to go into work at 6 o'clock in the morning, then I know I have to be in that barn two hours prior to that because I have to treat the horses, clean the stalls out, and other things," Grady said. "Then at the end of the evening, I have to repeat the process."

Grady already had horses, and the trooper who was keeping them in Monroe is set to retire next year, so the horses had to be relocated.

Grady stepped up to the plate and took them in.

He said the horses must be kept indoors at all times to keep their deep, rich black color, and are not allowed to be kept outside.

"The horses don't stay outside," Grady said. "They have to stay inside to keep their color black and rich and everything. So I have personal horses -- we've had horses forever -- and our horses stay outside. They only come in during the winter months. But these horses, they have to stay in all the time to keep their colors healthy."

Each trooper who is part of the Caisson Unit is making a massive personal sacrifice, also.

Since they are on standby constantly, they must be ready to travel anywhere within their coverage area at a moment's notice.

If they work a full shift and get a call at 9 p.m. that they need to be in the next state over in the morning, they drop everything and get ready to roll.

"If we got a call today to go to Tennessee to work a funeral, then everybody you've seen will congregate, come from all over the state to here, get everything prepped and ready, and we'll leave out the next morning," Grady said.

The request for the Caisson Unit to be part of a fallen officers' funeral takes precedence over anything else members of the Highway Patrol who are in the unit do.

"Your personal time is completely consumed up," Grady said. "There is no me going away somewhere when you take this on. Somebody has to always be with them. Somebody has to be out there with them in the morning time and repeating the process in the evening. You go to bed for a couple hours and you get up and do it again."

While the schedule is taxing on members of the Highway Patrol who are part of the unit, they feel their efforts are worth it to give their fallen comrades a proper burial.

"They gave their all so you're simply trying to give your all," Grady said.

They do it for people they don't even know -- names of officers in Georgia, Tennessee and various counties around North Carolina are on the side of the horse trailer -- out of a sense of honor and duty.

And burying a fellow officer can take a toll, but for the members of the Caisson Unit, it is their duty.

"Emotions run high for all of us," Grady said. "The hardest part about it is trying to give them the most respectful burial that we possibly can and keeping our composure, but it's tough. It's a good feeling to be able to give something to somebody that you didn't even know."