Group seeks funds to fly vets to D.C.Lew Fiero considers himself lucky. Along with 112 other veterans, he traveled in October to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
By: Jen Cullen The Republican Eagle, Worthington Daily Globe
Lew Fiero considers himself lucky.
Along with 112 other veterans, he traveled in October to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The "considerably emotional" experience is one Fiero and a group of local residents wants every Red Wing-area World War II veteran to have.
Members of the recently formed Red Wing Freedom Honor Flight Committee hope to raise money to send interested Red Wing-area World War II veterans to the memorial.
"It's important to see and feel the impact of what it signifies," Fiero said. "It'll be certainly something one wouldn't forget."
The committee will work with Freedom Honor Flight, a La Crosse, Wis., based organization that flies veterans to Washington for free.
The event is a whirlwind tour.
Fiero boarded a plane, flew to Washington, saw the memorial, toured other sites and memorials near the National Mall and returned home in less than 24 hours.
"It was something of an emotional experience," Fiero said. "It's such an amazing memorial."
Trained guardians accompany the veterans, who receive meals, and a book about the World War II Monument. They also receive mail from family and friends on the flight home.
"Not too many people from this area have had the chance to see it and it's a pretty amazing experience," said Robin Wipperling, Red Wing Freedom Honor Flight Committee member. "It's just overwhelming what this means to them."
The next flight is planned for June. Priority is given to World War II veterans but those certified terminally ill by a doctor and able to travel move up the priority list no matter what their era of service.
"It's a rather sad thing that so many thousands have already died not knowing the country has paid this kind of tribute to their service," Fiero said.
To donate money for local veterans to participate or to learn more about the program, call the Red Wing Area Senior Center at (651) 267-3599.
People wishing to volunteer or apply to be a trained guardian to accompany the veterans on the flight can call (608) 784-1015 or visit www.freedomhonorflight.org