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One last ‘thank-you’ for aging WW II vets

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By The Staff

Many World War II veterans have traveled to our nation’s capitol to personally see the World War II memorial that was completed in 2004.

Cost of such a trip has prohibited some veterans from making the trip.

A group of people in Marion County, Honor Flight Marion, is working to help all World War II veterans see the memorial in person. Marion is home to about 4,000 veterans, many with serious health problems, so this project is quite an undertaking.

They have started fundraising efforts to take a plane load of 80- or 90-something year-old veterans, and their caregivers as necessary, to see the memorial this spring.

The charter flight will depart from Ocala International Airport, and once landed in Washington, D.C.,  the national Honor Flight organization takes over to deplane the veterans, transport them to the memorial, serve them lunch, and return them to the waiting plane for the return trip the same day.

It is estimated that one charter flight will cost about $40,000 to $50,000 and will accommodate about 172 veterans and their guardians, or approximately $250 per person on the flight.

Honor Flight Marion is partnering with the Florida Department of  Veterans of Foreign Wars which is headquartered in Ocala. The VFW will serve as the fiscal agent to allow tax deductibility of donations to Honor Flight Marion.

Checks may be made to Department of Florida VFW, with “Honor Flight Marion” on the memo line, and mailed to Florida Department of VFW, P.O. Box 1630, Ocala FL 34478. Benny Bachand, director of the state VFW, is treasurer of Honor Flight Marion. All donations will be acknowledged.

In last week’s news release the local contact phone number was incorrect, due to a telephone company error. For veterans’ application forms or more information, call Rose Clements at 789-6878 or e-mail ocalahonorflight@gmail.com.

Contributing to the fund is a touching way to say “thank-you” to a World War II veteran.