Honor Flights ferry vets to D.C.

Lyndon High School continued hosting Honor Flight this spring with two more trips by veterans and student chaperones to visit the WWII and Korean war memorials in Washington, D.C.

“Honor flight is such a unique experience,” said LHS junior Brenna Herdman. “It is an amazing feeling to give back to the veterans after they risked their lives for our freedom.”

Lyndon and Wamego high schools partnered for the first trip May 21-22, which was accompanied by 14 Lyndon and nine Wamego students, and included 24 veterans. It was the first time Wamego had participated in the program.

A second trip, which included 26 LHS students and 26 area veterans, was taken June 2-3.

“The guardians do a wonderful job and whatever you need, they'll get it for you,” said Elton Decker, a Korean War veteran from Lyndon. “The experience was awesome, and I am glad I had the opportunity to go.”

Each trip began with an early morning departure from Kansas City on a nonstop flight to Baltimore. Veterans made a mid-morning visit to the memorials at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The day also included dinner and a night in a hotel.

The groups continued the trip with a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a viewing of the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery.

“The changing of the guard was the most impressive,” Decker said.

Veterans and students ate lunch during a layover at the Baltimore/Washington International Airport before flying back to Kansas City.

“I loved getting to serve our veterans throughout the trip as a thank you for what they did for me,” said LHS graduated senior Kristen Payne. “Honor flight created an amazing bond and memories. I will never forget my veteran. It’s so nice to see the patriotism in our country, and I feel that Honor Flight is something every veteran deserves.”

Crosby "Bing" Powell, 92, Topeka, a WWII veteran who earned a Purple Heart for serving in North Africa during the invasion of Italy, was one on the waiting list for three years before receiving the opportunity to go on the flight. He told organizers he was very impressed with the hospitality of the group throughout the trip.

The trips were sponsored in large part by the W.S. and E.C. Jones Trust, along with the Evelyn Slayman memorial, in honor of a veteran who participated in the program in 2009.

Support staff included administrators and staff from Lyndon and Wamego high schools; veteran coordinator Marty Feltner; and medical oversight from Darryl Nelson, MD, and Jo Nelson, RN, of Lees Summit, Mo.

Honor Flight Network is an organization started by Earl Morse, Ohio, in 2005 with a mission to “Transport America's veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.”

Kansas Honor Flight, which was inaugurated by Lyndon High School under the direction of USD 421 Superintendent Brian Spencer, is unique in its use of high school students as guardians for the veterans, providing an intergenerational and educational experience for both parties involved.

To nominate a veteran for Honor Flight, assist with an Honor Flight as a guardian or sponsor, or donate to the cause, contact Spencer at (785) 828-4413 or Feltner at (785) 828-4433.
For more information about the Honor Flight Network, visit www.honorflight.org.


The Osage County Herald-Chronicle

The official newspaper of Osage County; the cities of Burlingame, Carbondale, Lyndon, Melvern, Olivet, Osage City, Overbrook, Quenemo and Scranton; Burlingame USD 454, Lyndon USD 421, Marais des Cygnes Valley USD 456, Osage City USD 420 and Santa Fe Trail USD 434.

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