Ready to fly: Sendoff for Osceola County Honor Flight vets next week
SIBLEY, Iowa -- Fifteen Korean War veterans from Osceola County will be honored next Friday with a send off party the day before they take to the skies for their Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
SIBLEY, Iowa - Fifteen Korean War veterans from Osceola County will be honored next Friday with a send off party the day before they take to the skies for their Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
While many of us will still be sleeping, the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight will leave from the Fort Dodge Regional Airport next Saturday.
Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created to honor America’s veterans by taking them to Washington, D.C., to visit their memorials. Top priority is given to senior veterans, World War II survivors and veterans who may be terminally ill.
Osceola County Veterans Affairs Director Craig Sorensen said organizers of the flight were impressed with the large number of veterans signed up from a county as small as Osceola County.
“We haven’t done this for 10 years at least, and this is a lot for us,” Sorensen explained.
Sorensen has been working with locals to raise the money needed to make the flight a reality.
“It costs $600 for a veteran to go and there’s no cost to the veteran,” Sorensen said. “Businesses and churches and military organization and private individuals funded the whole thing. (They) raised every penny for Osceola County. … I’d like to thank those in Osceola County who supported this. It wouldn’t have been possible without them doing it. It just wouldn’t have happened.”
All 15 veterans and some of their spouses joined Sorensen and other flight attendees Wednesday evening in Fort Dodge, Iowa, for a dinner to go over the trip itinerary and generate excitement for the upcoming flight. This type of a trip is priceless to the men and women who are able to go, Sorenson said.
“I’ve talked to several of them over the past few weeks and they are just excited to no end - they’re really looking forward to it,” he said.
Before the veterans leave for Fort Dodge Friday morning, members of the county American Legion and VFW posts will be on hand to send off their brothers-in-arms. Sorensen said he has also invited the American Legion Riders and Patriot Guard Riders motorcycle groups. The Sibley-Ocheyedan band will perform at the ceremony, and pastor Terry Sims of Sibley, Iowa, will offer an invocation.
Sorensen welcomed the public to participate in order to make the event more memorable for the veterans.
“I strongly encourage you to attend, showing support for these men,” he said. “They would not be going on this flight were it not for the tremendous support they have received from Osceola County.
“On their behalf, I want to say thank you for making this possible. The one last thing I ask of you is to be present at this send off. Let’s make this event one they will remember for years to come.”
The Osceola County Honor Flight send off is at 1 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Osceola County Courthouse in Sibley. The Honor Flight itself will depart from the Fort Dodge Regional Airport at 6:20 a.m. Sept. 19 and return that night around 10:30 p.m. Both departure and welcome home festivities are scheduled at the airport in Fort Dodge.