Words cannot begin to describe the humble and most gratifying experience I had participating as a guardian in Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota's October 2010 flight.
My involvement came by way of the Southwest Initiative Foundation's $25,000 grant made through the Paul and Alma Schwan Aging Trust Fund. This grant not only supported Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota, but also helped kick off our milestone anniversary, marking 25 years as a regional community foundation serving our awesome rural southwest Minnesota region.
On Oct. 1-2, the Honor Flight took 104 World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Air Force Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery/changing of the guard, Navy Memorial, Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and the Air and Space Museum.
I will never be the same. What an incredible honor it was for me to serve as a guardian and volunteer on this well-organized flight. I am deeply grateful for all the veterans who participated. Some I got to know more than others but I am especially honored to have met Bud -- EMT First Class, Asiatic Pacific, American Area Philippine Liberation, USS Springfield.
Thank you to the Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota Executive Committee for your continuing dedication to this program. Plans are under way for a spring 2011 flight and support is needed to make it happen. We want all WWII veterans from southwest Minnesota who are able to travel have the opportunity to participate in a future flight.
Join me by helping to make this happen: if you or someone you know is a WWII veteran who would like to participate in the flight, if you have medical training and would like to volunteer for the flight or if you would like to make a contribution to support future flights
Please call Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota at 1-888-283-4061 or visit www.honorflightsouthwestminnesota.com for more information.
My gratitude for all veterans -- and their commitment and sacrifice -- has been forever changed by this experience. My deepest thanks to all veterans and their families -- our nation, state, region and communities are better because of you!