Honor Flight: The mission continues
When 19 South Carolina electric cooperativ es decided to thank our state’s World War II veterans for their service by sponsoring an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., the primary concern was finding enough veterans to fill the plane.
Across the state and nation, nonprofit Honor Flight groups have struggled to find both enough veterans and financial support to continue offering VIP tours of the National World War II Memorial and other monuments in our nation’s capital. Complicating the search for veterans is the fact that the men and women of the “Greatest Generation” are passing away at the rate of 670 per day.
Fortunately, the co-ops proved so successful at spreading the word in the communities they serve that Honor Flight of South Carolina received enough applications to fill the cooperative-sponsored flight—and nearly two more. In addition to the 100 veterans who participated on the April 11 trip (see: “We honor their service,” May 2012 and on SCLiving.coop), those who applied via their local co-op and South Carolina Living have also participated in Honor Flights from Greenville, Myrtle Beach and Columbia. In September, 100 more veterans will take the VIP tour of Washington, D.C., on a second flight sponsored entirely by the state’s electric cooperatives. An additional Honor Flight, paid for by multiple donors, is scheduled to depart from Columbia in November.
The mission to pay tribute to World War II veterans continues, thanks in large part to the support of South Carolina’s electric cooperatives, says Bill Dukes, founder of Honor Flight of South Carolina.
“Because of the success of finding these applicants, we have scheduled a flight for spring of next year, and we’ll just keep going as long as we have the applications,” he says. “We’re committed to providing flights for our veterans.”
Co-ops have pledged their ongoing support for Honor Flight, helping the organization find veterans, volunteers and new private donors, says Mike Couick, CEO of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina.
“As a group, we’re going to use as many of our local resources as possible to help Honor Flight of South Carolina reach every last veteran who wants to make this trip,” he says.
How to Help
Apply: If you’re a veteran of World War II and would like to join a future Honor Flight, please send in your application.
Recruit: Do you know a World War II veteran who deserves to be honored with a VIP tour of our nation’s capital? Encourage him or her to apply.
Donate: Each flight costs approximately $60,000. While corporate donors are welcome, most flights are funded by multiple schools, church groups and civic clubs who raise funds as a way of saying thanks to our veterans.
Volunteer: South Carolina’s Honor Flight chapters rely on an army of volunteers. Volunteer applications can be found at honorflightsc.com/applications.
Be a guardian: Guardians are needed for each flight to escort veterans and assist them physically throughout the day-long tours in Washington. Guardians must be physically able to assist their veterans, and they typically pay $500 for the privilege of joining the trip. Under national Honor Flight policies, a veteran’s spouse may not serve as his or her guardian.
For more information:
Honor Flight of South Carolina
P.O. Box 292421
Columbia, SC 29229
World War II Veterans: We Want You
Honor Flight of South Carolina is still actively seeking applications from World War II veterans who would like to participate in future flights. Any American who served in the armed forces during World War II and who has not previously been on an Honor Flight is eligible. Download the application to apply today. For more information call (803) 582-8826 or visit honorflightsc.com.
Article and Application
Honor Flight April 11, 2012 Souvenir Book
This limited edition book tells the fascinating war stories of 100 South Carolina World War II veterans who visited the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., on April 11, 2012. The 212-page souvenir book includes a profile of each World War II veteran and a full-page color portrait.
Souvenir Book Order Form