Collier-Lee Honor Flight, an organization whose mission is to transport local veterans to Washington, DC to visit memorials and honor their service, invites the public to attend the welcome home celebration at Southwest Florida International Airport on Saturday, September 29 from 9 to 10:30 p.m.
More than 2,000 family members, local service members, law enforcement and well-wishers are expected at the welcome home ceremony for the veterans on the American Airlines flight returning from Washington, DC.
Seventy-five senior veterans will be returning from a one-day trip to Washington DC to visit the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. The trip includes laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery. Each veteran will be accompanied by a guardian, a volunteer that has paid for their trip and ensures that every veteran has a safe, experience. Twelve Gold Star family members, families that have lost a loved one in battle, will accompany the veterans as guardians for the day.
An increasing number of WWII veterans are unable to take the flight to Washington, DC due to health issues. Ten of these Honor at Home veterans will be included in the welcome home celebration when the traveling veterans return from their day in Washington.
“These trips are not possible without public support,” said Sean Lux, founder and director of Collier-Lee Honor Flight. “Veterans tell us that the Honor Flight is one of the best days of their life. Many had given up hope of seeing the memorials. Now they have hope, but time is running out to give one last thank you to our proud heroes who sacrificed so much to preserve our freedoms.”
Collier-Lee Honor Flights will host 225 veterans in three flights in 2018. A single flight can cost more than $80,000. Support for these trips is provided by donors and volunteers and is at no cost to the veterans. Top priority is given to most senior heroes – survivors of WWII and any veteran with a terminal illness. The program also extends to Korean and Vietnam War Veterans as space allows, on a chronological basis.
The next Collier-Lee Honor Flight will take place on Saturday, October 20. The welcome home for the October 20 flight will take place from 8 to 9:30 p.m. at Southwest Florida International Airport. Veterans can apply for an Honor Flight by calling 239-777-9295.
Collier-Lee Honor Flight is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, 100 percent volunteer organization relying solely on donations. To learn more, visit collierhonorflight.org.