Indy Honor Flight looking for World War II vets for Sept. 5 trip
INDIANAPOLIS -- They stepped up once before to help their country, and now Indy Honor Flight is trying to recruit these World War II veterans again: This time so their country can say thank you.
Indy Honor Flight, the not-for-profit volunteer organization formed to take World War II veterans to see their memorial in Washington, D.C., is launching a massive recruiting drive to ensure that every veteran who wants to make this special journey has the opportunity.
There are an estimated 15,000 veterans from this greatest generation in Indiana who have yet to take an Honor Flight. Many of them are hard to reach as they are not on Facebook nor belong to the local VFW. Organizers are asking people to help us track them down and sign them up for a flight, and a long overdue gesture of appreciation for their service.
Grant Thompson, founder and chairman of Indy Honor Flight, said the next flight is scheduled for Sept. 5, and empty seats are waiting to be filled.
"At this time, we have four planes parked and waiting to fly this fall, two in September, two in October," he said. "The catch is we could use a few more veterans to fill them up!"
"It's a beautiful problem to have," he added. "To have the money to charter a full-sized commercial aircraft and yet no waiting list to speak of for our World War II veterans."
"The Honor Flight program was started to provide free transportation to our World War II veterans who, with the memorial not being built until 60 years after the war's end, today average 90 years old and quite simply need some help getting there, some physically, some financially," Thompson said. "We have flown hundreds already and while the plan is to continue on to the next generation of those who served during a time of war, we want to make sure that each and every WWII veteran has at least heard about the opportunity, and has been given the chance to take their Honor Flight before filling these planes with men and women from the Korean War who are 10 years younger."
In addition to reaching out to friends and family, Hoosiers can help get the word out by posting flyers at local churches, senior centers, retirement communities and anywhere people frequent.
Visit www.indyhonorflight.org/wanted to download the "Wanted" posters, flyers and applications to assist in tracking down the Americans who quite literally saved the world.
Indy Honor Flight took the first group of veterans in September 2012. There were two trips in 2013, and in 2014 there were five flights, each averaging 70 veterans, plus a charter from Evansville. This year, in an attempt to take as many veterans as possible, Indy Honor Flight has begun chartering larger planes, with two planes on each trip.
For more information, persons may call 317-559-1600 or visit www.indyhonorflight.org/wanted.