South Plains Honor Flight plans for 2022 trip to D.C., seeks applications and volunteers

Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 10:10 AM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It’s been two years since the Texas South Plains Honor Flight made a trip to Washington, D.C. with our local veterans but the organization is now targeting May 21 through May 23 for the return of the life-changing trip.

“In these two years, we’ve lost a lot of good veterans who had planned to go,” Paul Anderson said. “We’re down to one World War II veteran that has application in. There may be more in the area, but we’re open to applications.”

The all-expenses-paid trip for veterans takes those who served during World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War to visit the memorials built in their honor in our nation’s capital. There are stops in many other places like the Air Force Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the Air & Space Museum, Iowa Jima Memorial, Marine Museum and Army Museum.

“The memories they come back with are tremendous,” Anderson said. “But, it’s a chance also for some of them to tell some memories that they weren’t ever able to even tell their family before.”

Anderson first went on the flight as a veteran and has since returned as a guardian. He now volunteers his time to help organize the flight.

“One man that I was a guardian for was very negative about the trip,” Anderson said. “His friends and his wife just kept insisting that he go but when he got to the Vietnam War Memorial, someone asked him since he was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam if he knew any of those guys, and he said, ‘No, all I saw were the bags. I didn’t know the names.’ I didn’t know if we’d get him away from that memorial. It really touched his heart.”

The South Plains Honor Flight is seeking more volunteers and guardians for the flight. Guardians do have to pay a portion of their way as they care for the veterans on the flight.

“We want to stand by them and we want to support them in this, which is a very meaningful thing to them because they did a very great thing for our nation,” Anderson said.

Donors are also always sought, since the flight costs around $250,000 each year.

To donate or apply for the trip as a veteran, guardian or volunteer, click here.

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