by Kelly G. Cooper
The Second World War was the most widespread and deadliest conflict in history. Over 16 million brave men and women put America first and fought for humanity. It is hard to imagine that in less than 10 years most of our World War II veterans will be gone.
Not only is it our duty as fellow Americans, but our privilege as a nation to express our gratefulness for these heroes who preserved the liberty of our great nation during the most threatening of times. Thanks to these WWII courageous veterans, America, Europe and the majority of the Pacific is free today.
The non-profit organization, Honor Flight Network was established to honor America’s veterans for all of their sacrifices and accomplishments.
The goal is for all veterans to receive the thanks and welcome home they may have never received. This includes an all-expense paid day trip to Washington D.C. where the veterans are transported and escorted by volunteer guardians to memorials built in their honor.
Each guardian gets to know their veteran before the trip and ensures all passes, IDs, medical requirements, etc., are in line to ensure a safe and seamless unforgettable experience. Since its creation the Honor Flight Network has expanded to include Korean War and Vietnam War veterans.
Naples residents and veterans Dr. Debi Strand and her husband Sean Lux attended the documentary on Honor Flight at the Philharmonic and thought “this is amazing, how can we get involved?” Initially they volunteered and served as guardians to veterans aged 90 and 96, who were on a waiting list for two years.
“No veteran should have to wait on the waiting list for two years to go on an Honor Flight that they deserve, because their memorial was not built until 2004. These veterans were already 80 years old when this was built for them.” On September 25, 2013 this power couple brought a program to Collier County and launched the first mission just six weeks later. As of press date six missions have been completed. The flights have consisted of 50 – 75 veterans with the oldest being 101 years old. Collier County Honor Flight intends to provide three flights per year accommodating up to 75 veterans each mission.
Our freedom came at a high cost and it is our patriotic duty to acknowledge those who are responsible for preserving our sovereignty. Collier County Honor Flight is an example to follow, local community helping local people. Get involved, you can make a difference in the final chapter of our veteran’s lives. If you know someone who is a WWII veteran or a veteran with a terminal illness, help make their dream a reality where they can experience “their last hurrah” and know their country has not forgotten them.
For further information please contact the Collier County Honor Flight at 239.777.9295 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit their Facebook page Collier County Honor Flight for photos and upcoming events.