U.P. Honor Flight Network ready to take flight

The Upper Peninsula Honor Flight Network is helping honor veterans with a trip of a lifetime.

The non-profit organization escorts local heroes to Washington D.C. for a chance to take in the memorials dedicated in their honor.  Senior veterans are a top priority, especially finding men and women who fought in World War II.

To date, the Honor Flight has given 284 veterans the opportunity to visit the hallowed grounds.  But the program hopes to identify more involved with World War II so they can take part in the whirlwind event.

“This is just one day. We leave at 7:30 a.m. and we get back at 8:30 p.m. It’s busy, they come a little tired, but when they experience the welcome home that they get, it’s just like the day starts all over for them,” explained Paula Waeghe, a Board Director at the U.P. Honor Flight Network.

Guardians and volunteers are also in high demand to help chaperon through the sites. Anyone can sign up for the role with a $500 donation.  Highlights of the tour include stops at the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, and a concert from U.S. Air Force Band, which will be live-streamed at the Peter White Library.  But pictures don’t do the experience justice.

“He didn’t really want to go at first. As kids, we asked him and said ‘Come on! You need to go it’s for honoring you.’  I don’t think he really grasped the whole concept of what was happening until we actually got back.  The biggest thrill for me was to see my parents get together like you would see just getting off of war.  Just the love in their eyes was unbelievable,” gushed Bill Virch, a Guardian for his father on last year’s Honor Flight.

If you want to be an Honor Flight Guardian or sign-up a veteran you know, head to their website at upperpeninsulahonorflight.org. This year’s flight takes off May 1st.