Honor Flight Northeast Indiana and its members are celebrating 10 years of unforgettable veteran trips to Washington D.C. the only way they know how – with another flight.
Since the first flight in 2009, the program has grown significantly.
The number of veterans on each flight has risen from the mid 20s on the first flight, to the mid 80s on Wednesday’s Flight 32.
Since the program began, HFNEI has sent 2,288 veterans to Washington D.C. to see the memorials built in their honor alongside fellow service men and women.
That number grew after Flight 32, which included 84 veterans, the majority of which represented the Korean War and Cold War. There were also a few WWII, Post-WWII, and Vietnam veterans in the group.
The trip is a different experience for each veteran. Korean War Veteran Jerry Norwood is blind but with the help of his guardian, he was able to feel the etchings on the monument.
Each flight is free to the veterans going along, thanks to generous donations from various sources in the community.
Flight 32 was funded entirely by the McComb Family Foundation.
“On behalf of the McComb Family Foundation we are very honored to sponsor our veteran heroes going to Washington D.C. for a very meaningful day,” David McComb said in a news release.
The group will returned to Fort Wayne Wednesday night. While on the plane one guardian, Eugene King Jr., sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic” to the veterans. He was escorting his father Eugene King Sr.
When they arrived at the Fort Wayne International Airport, they were greeted by community members gathered at the main terminal to welcome them home. For some of the veterans, it’s the welcome home they never had.
For more information about Honor Flight Northeast Indiana or to sign up for a flight, click here.