County wants ‘honor flight’ for vets

Published 8:07 pm Thursday, October 16, 2008

Numerous veterans have taken “Honor Flights” to visit the National World War II Memorial located in the nation’s capital since its completion in 2004, and now Covington County officials hope to organize an Honor Flight to show appreciation for the county’s veterans.

Tonitta Sauls, director of the Opp Chamber of Commerce, said plans are still in the early stages of development and organizations simply wish to collect contact information for all the surviving WWII veterans in Covington County.

“If there are people interested in going on the honor flight or they know someone who might be interested, then they can contact the chamber office,” she said. “We are in the process of attempting to determine how many WWII veterans we have in the county. Right now what I would like to see us do is create a database of war veterans in Covington County.”

Sauls said the city of Opp had originally planned to organize an Honor Flight for November, but officials soon realized the date would need to be pushed back.

“The idea for an Honor Flight actually came about when we held our Memorial Day service in May,” she said. “We had hoped we get it together by Veteran’s Day, but we soon realized it would not happen. We are now working to get one together by the spring of 2009.”

The project has now become the collective effort of the Opp Chamber of Commerce, the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce and the Covington County Commission.

Sauls said the committee in charge of organizing the event will hold its first meeting next week to begin laying the groundwork for the event.

“We are in the very early stages of planning,” she said. “We will need each veteran’s name, address, phone number, date of birth if they don’t mind providing it and the wars they served in. We can then take that information and compile a database for the county.”

Commission Chairman Greg White said he’s excited about the effort.

“I think it’s a great idea,” White said. “Several folks had idea when they were exposed to other communities’ efforts — Prattville just successfully completed the project. We need to need to honor our veterans, and anytime we can honor those who have served us in uniform it’s great.”

Anyone who would like more information or to aid in the planning process is asked to contact Covington County Commission Office at 428-2610; the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce at 222-2030 or the Opp Chamber of Commerce at 493-3070.