By Hayley M. Cook
WILLIAMSON – The Huntington branch of an organization founded in April of 2007 to honor veterans is reaching out to World War II veterans with a unique opportunity to fly them to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials that stand in their honor.
Honor Flight Inc. chooses veterans for the trip on a first-come, first-served basis with priority given to World War II veterans and veterans with terminal illnesses. The trip is all in one day, spending several hours at the World War II Memorial, and visiting other Washington landmarks such as the Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Wall, Lincoln Memorial, the Marine Corps War Memorial and others as time permits.
According to the website, Honor Flight encourages even those with medical issues or mobility concerns to apply, because the appropriate medical assistance is provided on each trip. The website states:
“Physicians and paramedics accompanying each flight help with oxygen, medication and personal needs, enabling those with chronic health problems or disabilities to attend. A guardian assigned to each veteran provides additional assistance.”
Half of veterans who have taken the trip have been wheelchair bound, while many have used oxygen tanks as well.
Terminally ill veterans and World War II vets are currently placed near the top of the list as Honor Flight is actively seeking to take as many of these veterans as possible to see the memorials.
The organization has estimated that there are 5,000 World War II veterans who have not taken advantage of the opportunity to have an Honor Flight experience.
The trip, which is free for all veterans, does have some restrictions. Spouses are not permitted to go and family members may only serve as a guardian in very specific situations. Family members who are medically trained, active-duty military personnel and veterans who have previously participated in a flight are given top priority to serve as leadership members.
Honor Flight Network gratefully accepts donations from anyone except World War II veterans who have not benefited from the experience of an Honor Flight Tour. According to the website, the flight experience is their way of saying thank you and honoring veterans, and that is why donations are not accepted from them.
Those interested in the possibility of attending the trip are encouraged to apply. Applications can be found on the Honor Flight (Huntington branch) website at www.honorflighthuntington.org. For more information, the organization can be contacted at 740-451-0615.