Classic car auction helps fund Honor Flight

AUBURN, Ind. (WANE) Sending dozens of veterans to Washington D.C. to thank them for their service is the main mission of Honor Flight Northeast Indiana.

Related | Honor flight northeast Indiana: How to be involved 

Getting the vets to D.C. by plane is how it’s done, but an Auburn man is using his classic car to help for the next trip planned in October.

Jerry Rathburn admits he’s a little obsessed with classic cars.

“Yeah, I kind of have a fetish for cars,” Rathburn said. “I have too many of them, but that’s the way it is, and I’ll probably buy another one.”

He bought the 1964 Chevy Impala SS pictured in this story not for himself, but for the sole purpose of sending dozens of World War II vets to Washington, D.C.

The average age of local World War II vets is 91 years old according to Honor Flight Northeast Indiana, and the oldest who would attend the activities on this October’s flight is 99.

“The World War II vets are dying at a pretty quick rate at 91 years old on average,” Rathburn said. “It’s important for them to go out there and see the memorials that are made for them and in their honor. Most of them haven’t seen them at all.”

Jerry, a Vietnam Vet himself, understands the sacrifice the World War II vets made. He said sending them to see the memorials constructed in their honor, in the capital of the nation they fought so hard far, is the least he could do to thank them for their service.

“This is a big event in their life,” Tom Meyers of Honor Flight Northeast Indiana said. “They’re being thanked for what they did. Like they say, they saved America.”

The auction estimate of Jerry’s car is about $25,000 which will cover only half the cost of the Honor Flight. But everyone involved in the auction is hopeful the added sentimental value of the car will add to the selling price.

“I think this car will sell for high retail value because the people bidding on this car will want to see this money go to a good cause, so they’ll step up and pay a little extra for this car,” President of Auctions America Donnie Gould said.

If you’d like to donate to Honor Flight Northeast Indiana, click here. 

If you’d like to learn more about the auto auction in Auburn, and how you can become the owner of Jerry’s car, click here. 

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