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Southeast Florida Honor Flight announces first 'virtual' trip for veterans on Jan. 20

Stuart News - 10/30/2017

STUART - For those World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans who are unable to physically make the journey to Washington, D.C. on a regular Honor Flight, Southeast Florida Honor Flight is bringing the memorials to them, in a day of honor here at home. The day will match as closely as possible to what an Honor Flight to Washington would entail without the travel that makes it difficult for some older veterans.

The Virtual Honor Flight is the first such event for Southeast Florida Honor Flight. It will be held at Suncoast Community High School on Jan. 20, 2018, with the support of Suncoast students and staff and Honor Flight volunteers and staff.

Suncoast High School is at 1717 Avenue S in Riviera Beach. Suncoast student videographers, who traveled to Washington, D.C. this spring on an Honor Flight, captured the day on video. They have created a virtual experience of visiting the memorials from a veteran's perspective, which will be shown at the event. Suncoast history teacher David Traill is coordinating the event in tandem with Southeast Florida Honor Flight.

Each Virtual Honor Flight veteran will be assigned a special Student Guardian to assist them through the day. Also, each veteran is allowed one aide/family member to accompany them for the event.

If you are a WWII, Korean or Vietnam War veteran (or know of one) who cannot physically make the trip to Washington, D.C. due to health reasons or may be a caregiver themselves, but can endure five to six hours for the local Virtual Honor Flight, please print and fill out a Virtual Honor Flight Veteran Application which can be found at www.honorflightsefl.org in both online and downloadable formats.

Veterans are accepted by date of receipt of application. The cap for the Virtual Honor Flight is set at 100 veterans.

For more Virtual Honor Flight information, please go to www.honorflight sefl.org or contact Sara Mendinhall at 772-220-1404 or saramendinhall@ gmail.com.

Honor Flight traditions upheld

Of course in Honor Flight tradition, there will be the same red, white and blue "Operation Homecoming" for the Virtual Honor Flight veterans similar to what occurs at Palm Beach International Airport after the regular Honor Flights. It is one of the most emotional parts of the day for the veterans – being greeted by people in the community who just want to say thank you for laying their lives on the line for our Nation.

The public is welcome and encouraged to attend the Virtual Honor Flight homecoming with signs of thanks, flags, cheers and handshakes. Bring your family, friends and especially children. Arrive at Suncoast Community High School about 2 p.m.Jan. 20 to gather in the school entrance to await the arrival of the veterans after they finish their "flight" in the auditorium about 2:30 p.m.

Parking for those attending the homecoming will be available at Bethune Elementary School and JFK Middle School. Please see www.honorflightsefl.org for parking maps. School District Police will be monitoring these parking lots.

It is the goal of Southeast Florida Honor Flight to accomplish in the Virtual Honor Flight what every Honor Flight strives to do. For the veterans, it is a day to reflect on those heroes that never came home, on connecting with fellow military brothers and sisters and on the fact that America has not forgotten them. For everyone else, it is day focused on thanking these courageous men and women for serving our Nation, for stepping up when the world needed them most and for helping to preserve our freedom and way of life.

About Southeast Florida

Honor Flight

Southeast Florida Honor Flight, along with the 133 other hubs in the nationwide Honor Flight Network, is dedicated to flying America's veterans to their respective memorials in Washington, free of charge to the veteran. Southeast Florida Honor Flight is based in Stuart, and serves Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties. With America's WWII and Korean War veterans now in their later years of life, Honor Flight is truly in a race against time to honor these veterans by bringing them to see their memorials, especially the WWII memorial, which was not completed until 2004. Top priority continues to be given to WWII veterans and terminal veterans of any war.

Honor Flight is a non-profit, 100 percent volunteer organization created solely to honor America's veterans for their service and sacrifices by flying them to Washington to visit and reflect at their memorials. All funds raised for Honor Flight ensure every veteran flies absolutely free. For more information, to get involved or donate, please visit: www.honorflightsefl.org, or www.facebook.com/honorflight or call 1-855-359-2838.

Virtual Honor Flight application process

If you are a World War II, Korean or Vietnam War veteran -- or know of one -- who cannot physically make the trip to Washington, D.C., but can endure five to six hours for the Jan. 20 Virtual Honor Flight, print and fill out a Virtual Honor Flight Veteran Application at www.honorflightsefl.org in both online and downloadable formats.

Veterans are accepted by date of receipt of application. The cap for the Virtual Honor Flight is set at 100 veterans.

The Virtual Honor Flight will be at Suncoast Community High School, 1717 Avenue S in Riviera Beach, on Jan. 20, 2018, with the support of Suncoast students and staff and Honor Flight volunteers and staff.

Each Virtual Honor Flight veteran will be assigned a special Student Guardian to assist them through the day. Also, each veteran is allowed one aide/family member to accompany them for the event.

For more Virtual Honor Flight information, go to www.honorflightsefl.org or contact Sara Mendinhall at 772-220-1404 or saramendinhall@gmail.com.

 
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