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World War II veterans from area on their way to D.C.

WILLMAR -- The public is invited to a goodwill send-off Thursday as 19 World War II veterans from Kandiyohi County depart on an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

The veterans will be flying to the nation's capital with the Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota, which uses donations to take veterans to visit national memorials as a way to honor the "service and sacrifice" of American World War II veterans.

The Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota program is a committee affiliated with the nonprofit organization Honor Flight South Dakota, which was launched when the World War II memorial was dedicated in Washington in 2004.

The two-day trip costs $800 per person.

"Most World War II veterans are now in their 80s and do not have the wherewithal to travel on their own," according to the Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota website.

The participating Kandiyohi County veterans include: Milton Anderson, Willmar; John Berg, Atwater; Burton Brandt, Kandiyohi; Delbert Bridge, Willmar; Richard Christensen, Willmar; Earl Ewoldt, Kandiyohi; Robert Feichtinger, Willmar; Orrin Fixsen, New London; Clarence Fredeen, New London; Harvey Hawkinson, Willmar; Virgil Hawkinson, Spicer; Donald Kellen, Willmar; LeRoy Potter, Willmar; Edward Preslicka, Kandiyohi; Ersie Quimby, Willmar; Herbert Rieger, Willmar; Herbert Sharstrom, Willmar; Herbert Stowater, Willmar; Virgil Wallin, Willmar; and Al Brower, Atwater.

Another veteran had signed up for the trip but died a couple of weeks ago.

Three Honor Flight guardians, Jon Lindstrand, Ron Mackedanz and Gary Bridge, will escort the veterans.

The group will depart at 12:30 p.m. Thursday from the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services building in Willmar.

They will go to Luverne for a banquet and receive information regarding the trip for the next day. They fly out of Sioux Falls, S.D., on Friday and return Saturday.

Trish Appeldorn, Kandiyohi County veterans service officer, invites the public to attend the send-off as a way of "honoring the World War II veterans of Kandiyohi County."