Local Support Will Fly Rochester’s First “Honor Flight”

Contact: Vince Hope, Vice President
Honor Flight Rochester, Inc.
[email protected]

WWII Veterans to Visit their Memorial in Washington D.C.

Honor Flight Rochester, New YorkRochester, New York. In twelve short weeks dreams have become reality. On Memorial Day 2008 a public appeal was first heard for Rochester to join “Honor Flight” – the national movement to fly our country’s oldest veterans to visit their WWII Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Just prior to July 4th a group of volunteers announced the formation of Honor Flight Rochester, with the goal of taking hundreds, rather than handfuls, of local veterans to see the memorial built in 2004 to honor their heroism.

Today, founding board members announce Rochester’s inaugural Honor Flight will be scheduled to fly from Monroe County International Airport on Oct. 18, 2008. “With only our grass roots efforts, public donations and support now allow us to schedule a first flight of 10 area veterans this fall,” announced President Kathleen Wall. “We would love to fly 20 or 25 of our heroes on this first excursion as we get our organization off the ground. But to do that, we would need additional and immediate funds. All of our honored veterans travel free.”

Honor Flight Rochester, New YorkSupport of $450 for one veteran covers round trip airfare, a day-long bus excursion to all the major memorials – WWII, Viet Nam, Korea, the Marine’s Iwo Jima, and the newest Air Force memorial – hotel accommodations for a Saturday night, all meals, and the necessary support service to ensure a safe and healthy trip for men and women aged 82 and older. Each honored veteran will be accompanied by an able-bodied Guardian, who contributes to his or her own travel expenses.

“The national President of Honor Flight has expressed interest in joining us on this inaugural flight, and with local media as well, our entourage for 10 veterans and 10 guardians involves planning for 25 people,” explained Wall. “But we are eager to take up to 50 people on this maiden trip. Our highest priority is once-in-a-lifetime experience for as many veterans as possible, before tackling the larger challenges that lie ahead.”

Those larger challenges involve planning for more than 200 area veterans who have registered for flights in the 8 weeks since the organization went live with its website at www.HonorFlightRochester.org. Guardian applications from the website now number more than 75. Those numbers grow daily, and organizers believe registrations will climb steeply again with a first successful trip this fall.

Honor Flight Rochester, New YorkPlans call for ambitious Honor Flights beginning next spring, when the national program begins its 2009 flying season in April. “We plan this winter to expand our fund raising efforts and local partnerships to ramp up processes and fill hundreds of Honor Flight seats in 2009,” said Wall.

She urges the public to visit their website and welcomes new applications from other area veterans, inquiries from volunteers – both as Guardian travelers and those with skills and interest to help build the organization – but especially welcomed are private donations, of any size.

Pledges are accepted on the website but contributions may be sent directly to Honor Flight Rochester, Inc., P.O. Box 23581, Rochester, NY 14693.

Mission 82 (51 vets)
April 20-21
Mission 83 (62 vets)
May 25-26
Mission 84 (60 vets)
June 15-16
Unfortunately veterans cannot choose what flight they will travel on due to medical and logistic issues associated with the flight process. We also encourage veterans from the Syracuse and Buffalo area's to visit and register with their local Honor Flight hubs before registering with Rochester Honor Flight.