West Georgia Honor Flight has committed to bringing 170 more World War II veterans in the Columbus area to their monument in Washington, DC.
The nonprofit organization plans to make two more flights to the capital in 2010 on Friday, April 16, and Friday, April 23.
West Georgia Honor Flight made its maiden voyage to Washington on Sept. 22. There, some 96 WWII veterans from the Chattahoochee Valley toured the World War II, Vietnam and Korea memorials as well as Arlington National Cemetery and the Marine Corps tribute all at no cost to them.
“Our first flight to Washington on Sept. 22, 2009 was a tremendous success. We flew 96 World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., where they had time to reflect at their WWII Memorial, visit with Senator Bob Dole, visit the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials, and witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery,” said Royce Ard, chairman of West Georgia Honor Flight and General Manager of Knology of Columbus. “We now have a backlog of close to 100 WWII Veterans ready to take their flight to visit the memorial. Top priority will be given to WWII veterans and veterans of more recent conflicts who may be terminally ill. Very importantly, our senior heroes travel absolutely free.”
West Georgia Honor Flight is currently accepting applications for veterans and guardians. Guardians pay $400 to go on the trip and serve as guides to the veterans.
The total cost of each Honor Flight from Columbus to Washington, D.C., is approximately $60,000 per flight. WWII veterans fly on a first-come, first-serve basis as funds are raised for each flight. All plans are coordinated through the national Honor Flight Network.
“The Honor Flight program is a great way to give back to our local members of America’s Greatest Generation,” Ard said in a press release. “The trip will be an important day in the lives of our WWII veterans, and will provide a lifetime of memories to the volunteer guardians who accompany them. We have room for about 80 additional WWII Veterans on these two flights. Approximately 60 guardians will also be needed for each flight.”
WWII veterans, or a veteran’s family, can register a veteran for West Georgia Honor Flight by filling out an application that can be or downloaded at www.wgahonorflight.org.
West Georgia Honor Flight is a designated fund of the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley Inc., making it possible for tax-deductible donations to be made in support of the flight. Businesses and individuals can contribute to the fund to ensure that deserving veterans can experience this memorable event.
Civic organizations, churches, and other community organizations are being asked make contributions and hold fundraisers to help defray the cost of the Honor Flight. Groups of people can also get involved by joining the Honor Flight 20 for 20 Club – 20 people donating $20 sends one WWII Veteran on the trip. The Honor Flight 20 for 20 Club is a great way to honor a WWII Veteran that you may know by dedicating a donation in their name or in the name of the sponsoring group.
Donations can be made to the fund by phone (706) 320-0027, via credit card at the Community Foundation’s website, www.cfcv.com, or by sending a check to:
West Georgia Honor Flight Fund
c/o Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley
1340 13th Street
Columbus, GA 31901
Questions about West Georgia Honor Flight can be answered by calling (706) 507-WWII (9944) or by visiting the group’s website at www.wgahonorflight.org. Questions about donations should be addressed to Betsy W. Covington, Executive Director, Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley, (706) 320-0027 or firstname.lastname@example.org.