Thursday, February 6, 2014
“Time is of the essence … that’s our slogan,” said Walter Kollet, chairman of Honor Flight Myrtle Beach.
Kollet repeats this phrase when asked about Honor Flight.
“We lose more than 1,000 World War II veterans each day in the U.S. Many will never see their WWII Memorial. Here in Myrtle Beach there’s one last chance with Honor Flight on April 16.”
Honor Flight is a non-profit organization with “hubs” located throughout the U.S. Their mission is to provide no cost trips to Washington, D.C. for World War II veterans.
While in D.C. the veterans are escorted to the WWII memorial located on the National Mall, often referred to as the Jewel of the Mall.
The Myrtle Beach departure will be on a chartered jet carrying 150 passengers. Among those will be a volunteer medical team for the veterans’ safety. In addition, many guardian sponsors accompany the veterans on the flight.
“Guardians are crucial to the program” said Kollet. “They make a donation to fly with the veterans and look after their needs. We take dozens of wheelchairs so veterans can get around the sites with comfort. The guardians assist the veterans and together they enjoy a memorable day.”
The flight will leave Myrtle Beach International shortly after sunrise on April 16. There will be a two-hour tour of the WWII memorial along with visits to the Korean, Vietnam and Iwo Jima (Marine) memorials. The day in D.C. will conclude at Arlington National Cemetery for the “Changing of the Guard” ceremony.
The flight is due back in Myrtle Beach just before sundown.
Bert Cassels founded the Myrtle Beach chapter of Honor Flight in early 2010.
“The World War II memorial was 60 long years in the making. It was dedicated in 2004 and it’s magnificent. Now we are against the clock,” said Cassels. “Most WWII veterans can’t get there on their own. They deserve this trip. They have earned this trip. Please help us locate them.”
The cost of each Honor Flight is $60,000 and is paid for entirely by donations and fundraising events.
Honor Flight Myrtle Beach is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. “We want to fill this plane for our final flight. Everyone knows a WWII veteran. Please put us together. Also those interested in being a guardian sponsor should contact us right away,” said Kollet.
Honor Flight organizers can be reached at (843) 957-8212 or visit www.HonorFlightMyrtleBeach.com for information, flight applications or to make a secure on-line donation.