The Quad Cities chapter of the Honor Flight Network, called Honor Flight of the Quad Cities, flies veterans from our area to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honoring their sacrifices. Top priority is given to survivors of WWII and any veterans with a terminal illness who wish to visit their memorial.
“The intention is to honor as many of our local and regional heroes who were selfless in their military duty, with a free trip to visit their memorial.” Said Keith Baldwin of American Legion post 323, Henry, IL.
“There are already 76 men and women from our area on the list for the next trip, but there is room for more.”
The program operates exclusively on donations from organizations and individuals. Ninety-two percent of the monies raised are used to directly support the efforts to safely transport the veterans, only 7.3% is spent on administrative costs. Volunteers of all kinds will be needed to plan and coordinate the flight event, and special guardians will be trained to help escort the veterans the day of the flight. The guardians on this trip will all be veterans of the Korean War.
Jodi Slingsby is a flight attendant for South West Airlines who volunteers her time to fly with the veterans to Washington DC. “It is a very emotional day” said Slingsby “There is a lot of pride, and a lot of tears. On the plane we have mail call. We ask family, friends and school children from the home town of the veterans to write letters to give to them on the plane. It is very moving for the veterans to read these messages of gratitude for their service to our country. A lot of them tear up as they remember how much they looked forward to “Mail Call” when they were serving our country so many years ago. ”
“These men and women changed our world through their actions during WWII. Now they are in their 80’s and 90’s. We lose nearly 1200 WWII veterans each day. It is our mission to take as many of them as possible to see their monument. Time is running out” said Keith Baldwin.
Honor Flight announced today that the date of the next flight is May 26, 2010. The nonstop flight departs at 7:00 a.m. from the Quad City International Airport, and will fly to Washington, D.C., returning that same evening. When the flight lands at Dulles airport outside of Washington DC, the plane is met with fire trucks which spray the plane with water as it lands on the runway-a traditional Hero’s Welcome. At the airport there are bands, music, dancing, girl scout and boy scout troops, and many people lined up to thank the veterans for their service to our country. The same welcome awaits the veterans at the end of their day when they arrive home in Illinois. After viewing the WWII Monument, the group tours other sites in Washington DC for the day before returning home.
WWII Veterans interested in applying for the trip, as well as interested donors and volunteers, are encouraged to call Bob Morrison at (563) 388-3271.