Honor Flight San Diego raises funds for one flight, plans for second
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — After months of fundraising, Honor Flight San Diego raised enough money to fund one flight and hopes to plan a second.
Honor Flight San Diego, a nonprofit organization which takes WWII and terminally ill senior veterans to Washington, D.C. to see their memorials, canceled its spring flight due to lack of funding.
Due to generous donors at the “Legends and Legacies” fundraiser on Sunday, April 9, the organization was able to raise enough money to fund one flight and hopes to plan a second.
Keynote speaker Rear Admiral “Mac” McLaughlin (USN, retired) presented the largest donation of the evening.
The USS Midway Foundation donated $125,000, half the cost of one trip. Other donors included a $100,000 matching donation from The Green Foundation in effect through April 30.
Every dollar raised will support the next “Tour of Honor” trip, tentatively planned for September. Honor Flight San Diego has approximately 100 WWII veterans on a waiting list for that trip.
“Our supporters understand how urgent our mission is to get our most senior veterans to Washington D.C. while they are still able to travel,” said Julie Brightwell, chairman of Honor Flight San Diego. “We are so grateful to those generous donors who stepped up in a BIG way to allow us to honor these senior heroes.”
Honor Flight San Diego’s next challenge is to ensure they have connected with as many Southern California WWII veterans as possible. The priority for the flight is WWII era and those veterans who are terminally ill from any era. After WWII veterans have traveled, Honor Flight San Diego hopes to begin honoring requests from Korean War veterans.
Honor Flight San Diego has flown 1,063 veterans from Southern California since its inception in 2010. The “Tour of Honor” flight is a three-day trip and includes visits to the National World War II, Vietnam, Korea, Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) and U.S. Air Force memorials, and the U.S. Navy Yard museum. The veterans also stop at Arlington National Cemetery to witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony while the female veterans tour the Women in Military Service for America National Memorial.
The “Tour of Honor” flight is funded through donations to Honor Flight San Diego. The veteran’s trip costs approximately $2,500 for the three-day experience, but the veteran incurs no expense for the trip.
Honor Flight San Diego was founded in 2010 by Dave Smith after he traveled as a guardian with his father, Arthur Smith, a USMC veteran who served during WWII. Smith was so impacted by the opportunity to honor WWII heroes that he founded the San Diego hub.