Goal reached for first Honor Flight

Published 8:47 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The first-ever Covington Region Honor Flight has met its $35,000 goal and will take 75 people to visit the World War II monument in Washington, D.C., on May 2.

In March, the board announced it was 70 percent away from the goal, and thanks to recent donations, enough money was raised to begin preparations for a second flight.

Of the 75 people scheduled to go, 38 are World War II veterans and 20 are guardians, who paid $400 in their own money to assist the veterans on the trip. The remaining six are media representatives and medical personnel.

“We do still have a few openings left for veterans who would like to go,” said CRHF board president Tonitta Sauls. “In fact, I had three to call (Wednesday) morning, so there is still time. Thanks to the wonderful community support, this project is going to become a reality. We couldn’t be more excited.”

A departure orientation and celebration for the group will be held on April 18 at 2 p.m. at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College MacArthur Campus in Opp.

“The orientation is for everyone who will be going on the flight, but afterwards, there will be refreshments and an opportunity for the public to gather and meet some of our local heroes,” she said.

Sauls said it would also be an opportunity for everyone to participate, especially family members, friends, and our loyal contributors who have donated to make the event possible.

The veterans, along with guardians who will assist them in traveling, will leave Covington County by bus, fly to Washington and be taken by private motor coach to the nation’s war memorials.

Snacks, lanyards, hats, T-shirts and other sundry items will be provided to the veterans who make the trip.

Sauls said the next honor flight could be scheduled as early as the fall, if donations hold steady.

“Our focus then will any World War II vet who didn’t get to make the first trip and Korean War veterans,” she said. “So just because we’ve met our goal we don’t want people to stop contributing. We need to keep the trend going.”

Those who are a WWII veteran, or know a WWII veteran who is interested in applying for a seat on the flight, may pick up an application at the Andalusia Chamber office, contact Sauls at 334-493-3070, or any other CRHF board members, including Greg White, Pam Steele, Dwight Mikel, Robert Williamson and Ashley Eiland.

Additionally, Korean War veterans are urged to begin applying for the next flight.

Those who wish to contribute to the travel expense may send tax-deductible contributions to: CRHF, c/o Covington County Commission, P.O. Box 188, Andalusia, AL 36420.