FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Honor Flight Northeast Indiana will send 84 veterans to Washington, D.C. Thursday to view monuments and memorials built in their honor.
The trip is the organization’s 21st flight since being founded in 2009. In total, 1,380 veterans have gone to the nation’s capital with HFNEI.
The 21st flight is made up of 38 World War II veterans, 39 Korean veterans and one Vietnam War veteran. Five veterans on the trip served in two wars and one veteran served in three.
Five women who served during WWII will also make the trip.
The 21st flight is the first of two fall flights that have been paid for by donations from Paulding Putnam Electric Coop. The utility started fundraising efforts in January and also raffled off a 2016 pickup truck. The group raised $150,000 for HFNEI
HFNEI also received a donation check from an anonymous donor totaling $65,000.
Each Honor Flight trip costs approximately $70,000. Veterans take the trip at no cost and meals are provided for them in the morning at the 122nd Air National Guard Base. Lunch and dinner are served in D.C.
As usual, veterans will return to Fort Wayne International Airport around 8:30 p.m. The public is invited to welcome them home. The return welcome started small just a few years ago, but recent trips have seen thousands of people line the terminal at FWA.
Those wanting to attend the welcome home rally can follow the group’s progress on their Facebook Page for estimated arrival times.
HFNEI is a 501(c)3 non-profit and 95 percent of donations go directly to trips to Washington, D.C. For information about how to donate, click here. Information on how to sign-up a veteran or become a guardian is also available on the HFNEI website.
Currently, approximately 400 Korean War veterans and 200 Vietnam War veterans are on a waiting list. HFNEI hopes to take two flights in the spring of 2017 and two more flights in the fall of 2017. Those flights are pending adequate funding.