Hereditary heroes: Guardian accompanied both grandfathers on flightWASHINGTON — Some veterans were lucky enough to be accompanied by family members on their Honor Flight trip. Some insisted on it. But for one guardian, the event was twice as nice after both her grandfathers were allotted places on the journey.
WASHINGTON — Some veterans were lucky enough to be accompanied by family members on their Honor Flight trip. Some insisted on it.
But for one guardian, the event was twice as nice after both her grandfathers were allotted places on the journey.
Don Dillehay, a former Army Private First Class from Harris, Iowa, and Vernon Voss, a former Army T-5 from Spirit Lake, Iowa, traveled with granddaughter Leah Tigges to see the World War II Memorial.
Tigges, a cosmetologist from Breda, Iowa, kept busy throughout the trip, distributing sandwiches to veterans, snapping photos and guiding grandpas around the various memorials.
“My grandma actually was telling me about (Honor Flight), and I said that’d be so much fun,” Tigges said. “She said they were just talking about having me go along with Grandpa Voss.”
In late August, Dillehay signed up for the trip.
“It’s been very emotional,” Tigges said. “I’m an emotional person anyway, so when I saw those people as the veterans were walking off the plane, it just hit me.”
The trio said they enjoyed taking in the sights, with the two men already well acquainted by past family gatherings.
“That we have them both, it’s wonderful,” Tigges said.
Having his granddaughter along for the trip was “tremendous,” said Voss, who fought in the Pacific Theater as a corporal in the 33rd Infantry Division.
“I got over to Japan just as the war was over,” Voss said. “During the occupation of Japan I was quartermaster. I drove truck to bring in supplies from ships.”
And have the veterans ever shared their wartime experiences with their grandchildren?
“No, she ain’t interested,” Dillehay said.
“I am, too!” protested Leah with a laugh. “If I wasn’t interested, I wouldn’t be here.”