HFNEI sending 85 veterans to Washington, D.C.

Veterans who took part in Honor Flight 17 pose for a group photo. (File)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Honor Flight Northeast Indiana is set for its final flight of 2016.

Trip number 22 will depart Wednesday morning for Washington, D.C. with 85 veterans and their guardians and a handful of HFNEI volunteers and staff.

Eleven veterans served in World War II, 70 served in Korea, and four served in Vietnam.

Since 2009, HFNEI has taken more than 1,400 veterans to the nation’s capital to see memorials built in their honor.

Breakfast for travelers will be held at the 122nd Air National Guard Base. The group will arrive in Washington, D.C. and tour several memorials, including the WWII Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial Wall. The group will be served lunch and dinner while in D.C. and will return to Fort Wayne International Airport around 8:30 p.m.

A heroes welcome is encouraged. The public can line up along the main terminal and welcome the veterans home. Recently, more than 1,000 people have showed up to greet veterans with applause, cheering, signs and patriotic music.

Follow the group’s trip on the HFNEI Facebook Page. Donations keep the trips going and provide the experience to veterans at no-cost. Paulding Putnam Electric Coop raised enough money in 2016 to fund the two HFNEI fall flights. 95 percent of all donations go directly towards trips for veterans. More information on how to donate, how to volunteer, or how to sign up a veteran can be found on the HFNEI website.

HFNEI took four flights in 2016 thanks to generous donors and the surrounding community. The total number of flights for 2017 will be determined on continued donations and fundraising. The first flight of 2017 is tentatively scheduled for the spring.