WASHINGTON D.C. (WANE) A veteran and a volunteer became fast friends after meeting for the first time during the Honor Flight on Wednesday.
Veteran Joe Laudadio was paired up with volunteer MacKenzie Rupp spent the day together in D.C. Pat Hoffmann spoke with the pair at one of the day's final stops at the Air Force Memorial.
Both were incredibly thankful for the experience they had in the nation's capital.
"It's been unbelievable. We've received royal treatment from the very beginning," said Joe. "When we left Fort Wayne, there was a line of people a quarter of a mile long saluting us and applauding. We've just had wonderful, wonderful treatment."
"I did this for the experience," said Mackenzie. "I love listening to all the stories from everyone. It's just been a great day for everyone."
Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the Honor Flight of Northeast Indiana.
The organization needs volunteers to help with administrative tasks, fundraising, and - like Mackenzie - to be guardians and accompany veterans on the trip. Guardians are asked to make a set donation to help cover their costs so that other donations go directly to benefit the veterans. As of May 2013, the required Guardian contribution was $400.
Anyone interested in to donating can visit the Honor Flight northeast Indiana website and click on the 'Donate' button on the right-hand side.
Donations can also be mailed to:
Honor Flight NEI
PO Box 5
Huntertown, IN 46748
Donate in honor or memory of a veteran in your life, or just to say "Thank You" to those who paid the price!
Sponsor a flight
The Honor Flight of Northeast Indiana is in need of organizations that can sponsor an entire flight . On average it takes $36,000 to send 30 veterans to DC and back. It took over a year to get the first flight off the ground when the Northeast Indiana organization was founded in 2008.
There are about 200 hundred veterans on the waiting list and some have been on it for over two years. In order to schedule a flight, the organization must have raised all the funds to cover it in advance. As soon the funds are raised, volunteers call veterans on the waiting list.
Full flight sponsors honor not only the veterans on the flight they sponsor, but pave the way for the next flight of honor. It is a gift that keeps giving. Publicity from one flight brings donations for the next.
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