Rotary needs help with flights for veterans
Rotary District 7680 has filled every available seat for the Sept. 19 and Oct. 20 Flights of Honor out of Charlotte for World War II veterans.
“The flight this Saturday and the John Van Hanford Jr. Memorial Flight Oct. 20 will send more than 200 veterans, and applications are still coming in, so we know we will need at least one more flight next spring,” said David McKnight of the Mooresville-Lake Norman Rotary Club and co-chairman of the Rotary District 7680 Flight of Honor Committee.
“These men and women are in their 80s and 90s, so we have only a small window of opportunity to provide these flights,” McKnight said. “Since our April flight, three of those veterans have died. To meet the need, we Rotarians need individuals, companies, foundations and other organizations to help provide funding for World War II veterans to see the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Many of them wouldn’t be able to go without the Flights of Honor.”
Each flight costs more than $60,000 for chartering the U.S. Airways plane, buses for ground transportation in D.C., lunch during the day, and other expenses.
“We provide the flights at no cost to the veterans. Rotarians are contributing financially as well as providing the people to organize and direct each flight. We Rotarians cannot meet the need for these flights without outside help. Everyone owes a debt of gratitude to these men and women who saved the world from Nazism and Japanese militarism,” McKnight said.
Donations to the Flight of Honor are tax deductible under the federal tax code. Contributions can be made to Rotary Flight of Honor (www.flightofhonor.org) and sent to P.O. Box 495, Gastonia, NC 28053.
The Rotarians of District 7680 created The Flight of Honor as a service project to honor the lives, valor and courage of World War veterans.
“There are hundreds of the World War II veterans in the 14 counties that make up Rotary District 7680. We want to make it possible for every one of them who wants to go and is physically able, to go on a Flight of Honor. To achieve this we need the help of every community in those counties,” McKnight said. “Contributions of any size will be appreciated.
“Many companies have employees who served in the military in World War II. It would be a great tribute for a company to sponsor any employee World War II veterans who are still able to go on a Flight of Honor. Anyone can sponsor a veteran for $500 and assure the veteran a seat on one of the flights if the veteran’s health is good enough to receive medical approval from the flight doctor. A family may want to sponsor a veteran in honor of a relative who has already passed away. Sponsorship will be mentioned in the booklet of short veteran biographies that will be given to every veteran on a Flight of Honor.”
Each flight includes a physician and emergency medical technicians, all volunteers. Rotarians and others, also volunteers, are guardians to assist veterans in wheelchairs, or using canes and walkers. Each guardian is assigned three veterans.
“We try to make each Flight of Honor a memorable day for the veterans,” McKnight said. “It also is a memorable day for the guardians and others who go on the flight to assist.”
The 52 Rotary Clubs in District 7680 (www.rotary7680.org) are part of a worldwide organization of business, professional and community leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world.
Rotary District 7680 encompasses clubs in Anson, Ashe, Alleghany, Alexander, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Richmond, Rowan, Stanly, Union and Wilkes. The USO of North Carolina has centers in Charlotte, Fayetteville, Jacksonville and Raleigh.
Fact Sheet ń Sept. 19 Flight of Honor
World War II Veterans ń 120
Communities represented by the veterans – 28
Guardians ń 45
Medical Personnel ń Dr. Peter Enyeart, Emergency Medical Technicians Craig Arrowood and Wes Thompson
Flight Rotary Leadership ń
Rotary District 7680 Governor Karen Shore
District Governor Elect ń Firoz Perra
Flight of Honor Co-Chairs ń David McKnight, Kelly Morris
Group Leaders ń Richard Theokas, Andy Jones,
Steve Driscoll, Alvin Lewis
Schedule Saturday, Sept. 19
7 ń 7:30 a.m. Veterans arrive by auto at Charlotte Douglas
7:30 ń 8:45 a.m. Check-in, security processing and boarding
9 a.m. Departure to Reagan Washington National Airport, snacks served on flight
10:30 a.m. Arrive at DCA, board motor coaches and travel to Mall and WW II Memorial
11:30 a.m. Tour WW II Memorial
Box lunch provided at Arbyís tent after tour
1:30 p.m. Depart WW II Memorial for driving tour of DC, including stops at Viet Nam / Korean War Memorials, Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima) and FDR Memorial
5:15 p.m. Arrive at DCA Airport for departure
5:45 p.m. Check-in, security processing and boarding
7:00 p.m. Departure of Flight of Honor to Charlotte Douglas Airport
Snack provided on flight
8:15-8:30 p.m. Estimated time passengers will be arriving for pick-up at Charlotte Douglas airport (concourse D- Upper level)
? Chartered flight is a US Airways Airbus A321. Flight times are subject to change. Please be prepared for delays and time changes.