Open to veterans, guardian escorts and the public, Land of Lincoln Honor Flight (LLHF) of Springfield, Illinois, held their annual meeting on Saturday, January 17, to discuss their upcoming year.
A full review of the previous season was presented by the LLHF board president, Joan Bortolon, recapping the six flights held and the 498 veterans served in 2014. Since the inaugural trip in May 2009, this brought the total of the 30 flights to 2,266 veterans served, consisting of 1,307 World War II, 833 Korean War era and 125 Vietnam War era veterans. Bortolon also cited the other major events and fundraisers that LLHF participated in during the year, as well as reviewing the blending of the Central Illinois Honor Flight hub’s territory and remaining wait list into Land of Lincoln Honor Flight during the summer.
Moving to the upcoming 2015 season, flights for Tuesday, April 7, May 12, and June 16 were announced. Flights are also planned for September and October but dates have not been established. The current wait list of LLHF was given as 24 World War II veterans, 226 Korean era and 375 Vietnam era, for a total of 625 as of the annual meeting. On the April flight there are currently 13 World War II, 68 Korean War era and 1 Vietnam veteran scheduled for the trip, although that could change due to cancellation(s) and substitutions. All WW2 veterans have been offered a trip on the April or May flights, and all Korean era veterans currently on the list will be offered a trip by the June flight. The May and June flights are being called and filled. Along with the flights, Guardian Training for the escorts on the flights was announced. The first sessions of the year will be held in January, February and March. Guardians on the April or May flights have been notified of the date, time and place of the training they need to attend.
Veteran applications continue to be accepted and LLHF is asking all to help find eligible veterans, especially WWII and Korean era. For those more elderly ones, remaining time is truly running out. Veterans are offered a flight in the order their application is received, with priority given in the following sequence: World War II ~ a person enlisted by 12/31/1946; Korean War Era ~ 01/01/1947 to 12/31/1957; and, Vietnam War Era ~ 01/01/1958 to 05/07/1975. (Information for obtaining an application is included at the end of this article).
The annual meeting continued with recognition and a salute to all the “partners” who assist in making LLHF and their flights successful, both from financial assistance and in honoring the veterans served with “in kind” contributions. It was followed by a 20-minute video that capsulized the memorable moments from the past six years of the hub, from conception through the last flights of 2014. The meeting then concluded with drawings for raffle and door prizes, and a great “thank you” for all those who attended and assisted.
Land of Lincoln Honor Flight is a 501(c)3 non-profit, receiving no federal, state or county funding. It is able to fly Veterans on their Honor Flight through the generous donations, sponsorships, fund raising and efforts of many individuals, businesses and organizations. For more information on the Honor Flight mission, to obtain a Veteran or Guardian application, arrange a speaker to your organization, or make a donation to LLHF, please visit the official web site at LandofLincolnHonorFlight.org or contact John Dust, marketing/media director, at HonorFlightGuy@aol.com or cell 309-339-0227.