High Plains Honor Flight seeks to double its effort to serve aging Vietnam Veterans
High Plains Honor Flight, a volunteer-led regional nonprofit, has set a goal to double the number of veterans it serves. The objective is to move from one flight each year to two flights. With a focus on aging Vietnam Era Veterans, the High Plains Honor Flight Board of Directors recently voted to undertake an effort to charter two flights each year to the nation’s capital, providing veterans with an all-expense paid trip to visit the memorials built in their honor.
“The flight was a time for memorializing my brothers and sisters and to honor them for their ultimate sacrifice,” said Felipe Guardado, a Vietnam Veteran and Purple Heart recipient who was a part of the April 2023 High Plains Honor Flight trip to Washington D.C. “The trip gave me closure,” he said. The original mission of Honor Flight was to get as many WWII Veterans to visit the WWII Memorial as possible while they were still with us. Today, over six million Vietnam-era veterans are in their own battle with time, as many are in their mid-70s and in failing health. Over 300,000 Vietnam Veterans have died from exposure to Agent Orange, and all Vietnam Veterans who served in country are presumed to have had exposure to the chemical.
“We feel the race is on to get these veterans the ‘Welcome Home’ that most never received for their service,” said Matt Voris, board president for High Plains Honor Flight. “In our last three trips to Washington, D.C., we have had a minimum of 100 Vietnam Veterans on each trip.”
Each chartered flight to Washington, D.C., follows a memorable send-off celebration shared with family and friends. Following the send-off, the veteran-filled buses depart for the airport with an escort of law enforcement officials and hundreds of motorcycles from groups that support veterans. Once in D.C., the group tours all the major War Memorials and Arlington National Cemetery.
Moving from a single flight each year to two will require a doubling of donations. “This is an ambitious effort, but we are confident we will see people step up to provide the necessary support,” said Voris. The next flight is scheduled for April 28, 2024. Donations can be made online at HighPlainsHonorFlight.org.
About High Plains Honor Flight
High Plains Honor Flight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates exclusively through volunteer efforts and is 100% funded by donations. All donations are handled by the Weld County Community Foundation. The organization is governed by a 13-member board of directors and serves veterans in Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming.