Many of the World War II veterans planning to go on Kern County’s upcoming Honor Flight are in their 80's and 90's. They will need help getting around Washington D.C. as they tour historic monuments.
“Some of them can't go physically alone, so we need help,” says Jack Gotcher, Vice Chairman for Kern County Honor Flight. “We raised money to send them. We need people who are willing to come along and help us help them see their memorial."
Last Memorial Day weekend, 21 local World War II veterans laid eyes on the memorial in their honor for the first time. The men toured many sites, including the Capitol Building and Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s office.
Each veteran had a guardian to help them navigate D.C. Organizers say they hope to take at least 60 guardians to assist the 80 veterans.
“I had an amazing experience, and bottom line, I got to show some respect and compassion to somebody who answered a call for our country,” says Louis Gill, a past Honor Flight guardian. “The World War II vets are a very special population. As a volunteer, you can give a little something back because they answered the call. The question is will we?"
While the flight is free for the veterans, guardians have to pay their own way. But, it's a trip Gill says is worth every penny.
The cost for a guardian is $1,200, which includes the flight, hotel, and all tours. Guardians will be paired with one or two veterans for the trip.
Honor Flight takes off from Meadows Field Airport on November 13th. The group returns two days later.
If you'd like to be an Honor Flight guardian, call 544-VETS.