Honor Flight still needs $25K

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 24, 2010

Despite not raising the additional $25,000 needed for the final down payment on the trip, the Covington Regional Honor Flight is still a go.

“We’ve made this commitment to the veterans and, as a board, we don’t feel it’s right to say we can’t do that. The flight is a go. If we don’t raise the money to make the final payment, we will have to borrow it and try to have fundraisers when we get back,” said honor flight president Tonitta Sauls. “We have not taken in any more money. We still need the $25,000.”

Sauls said they are still hoping the money will come through before the April 30 payment deadline.

“We chartered the plane because it’s what the community said we should do,” she said. “It will take eight hours out of their day, and they won’t have the 26-hour day they did last year.”

This year’s trip will be easier than last, when veterans left Covington County at approximately 2 a.m., traveling to Pensacola by bus to catch a plane. This year, a chartered flight will pick up veterans at the South Alabama Regional Airport.

Sauls said they’ve had a few additional guardians come in, but more a still needed.

“We do have now about 55 veterans and 45 guardians,” she said. “We need more guardians. We need people to give.”

The flight is scheduled to leave the South Alabama Regional Airport on May 15, and as many as 120 veterans and guardians can participate in the flight.

The trip is free for veterans, but guardians must pay $550.

Anyone interested in donating to the program or signing up to be a guardian should contact Tonitta Sauls at 334-504-1450 or Pam Steele at 334-428-2619.

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