Featured Grant Story: Texas South Plains Honor Flight
What is Texas South Plains Honor Flight?
Texas South Plains Honor Flight (TSPHF) organized in Lubbock in 2012. TSPHF is an all-volunteer organization that includes elected officers and a board of directors made up of officers and members elected by the volunteers. There are no paid members of the group, as all monies raised support the veterans’ trip to Washington, D.C. each October.
TSPHF was awarded funds from the Community Foundation of West Texas to take veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the Middle East to Washington, D.C. to see memorials built in their honor. The trip included a send-off dinner, hotel, meals, visits to memorials/museums, and ended with a welcome home celebration at the airport. This year marks the seventy-third year since the end of World War II. Statistics suggest that across the United States, eight hundred World War II veterans die each day. The priority now is to take as many of the remaining World War II veterans as possible to Washington, D.C. and honor our veterans.
Volunteers and speakers make presentations to veterans' organizations, retirement communities, local service organizations, and churches to raise awareness for the Honor Flight. The Senior Link Magazine devotes the October issue to veterans, most of whom have traveled on the Honor Flight. KCBD Channel 11 and KSSL hold public events and fundraising programs on the air. Upon raising sufficient funds for the Honor Flight, the work on specific details and logistics begins.
Guardians accompany veterans on the Honor Flight. Guardians help veterans who may need assistance with mobility, or may just need a hand. While the veterans attend the Honor Flight free of cost, guardians pay their own way for the three day journey. Also on the Honor Flight are a medical officer, logistical organizers, a photographer, and news media personnel.
After their return from Washington, D.C., volunteers help the Honor Flight alumni find opportunities to speak at schools, civic groups, and churches; they have opportunities to tell their stories and to know they are valued. Veterans and volunteers join forces to raise awareness of the Honor Flight to keep the yearly flight fiscally sound.
Texas South Plains Honor Flight in Action
Listed below are just a few of the letters some of the veterans have written to TSPHF after their Honor Flight experience.