May 17, 2012

Honor Flight News

Morrison,-Bob-colorBy Bob Morrison
Development Director of Ridgecrest Village

If you haven’t heard, local community leaders have created a chapter of the Honor Flight Network, called Honor Flight of the Quad-Cities. It all started at Ridgecrest Village in Davenport when William Shore, a resident WWII Veteran asked if Honor Flight was a credible organization. So, we called the national office in Springfield, Ohio. Founder Earl Morse said, “We have just flown 400 veterans from around the country to Washington D.C. that weekend.” Senator Bob Dole also was involved. We had 40+ WWII Vets at Ridgecrest that wanted to go. Morse said, “If they complete the application, they will go on the waiting list (8,000 so far). If you want them to go sooner, start your own Honor Flight Hub.” Thus, Honor Flight of the Quad Cities was founded!

We have been flying America’s WWII Veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honoring the sacrifices of these heroes since November 1, 2008. Top priority continues to be given to veterans of WWII service, and any veterans with a terminal illness who wish to visit their memorial.

LATEST NEWS: The next flight, Tuesday, May 22, is dedicated to Korean War Era Veterans. Veterans must have served from June 25, 1950 to January 31, 1955. Art Petersen, Korean era veteran and Hub Treasurer, said, “It is time to recognize the service of the men and women of the often-called ‘Police Action,’ which in reality was a brutal war! They deserve this special recognition.”

So far approximately 1,800 veterans have safely flown on 18 trips. A comfortable chartered 737 aircraft from Sun Country leaves at 7 a.m. and returns at 10 p.m. The nonstop flight departs early in the morning from the Quad-City International Airport and flies to Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C., returning later that evening.

Three modern motor coach buses skillfully transport veterans and their Guardians to the Udvar-Hazy Center Air & Space Museum (Smithsonian), WWII Memorial, Air Force Memorial, Iwo Jima, the Women’s Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and Abraham Lincoln Monument. Each bus has a lift for bringing wheelchair dependent veterans on board, plus a convenient restroom.

The intention is to honor as many of our local and regional heroes who were selfless in their military duty, with a free trip to visit their memorial. Veterans from throughout a 75 mile radius are encouraged to apply for the trip. The program operates on donations from organizations and individuals. Volunteers of all kinds are needed to help coordinate the flight event, and special Guardians
are trained to help escort the veterans the day of the flight. We currently have over 300 Guardians who are willing to pay $500 for the honor of escorting our veteran heroes.

WWII and Korean era veterans interested in applying for the trip, as well as interested donors and volunteers, are encouraged to contact Margie Hansen at the Honor Flight office at Ridgecrest Village. Email at, call (563) 391-3430, or download applications at