WILMINGTON — At the Oct. 21 Wilmington Lions Club meeting, Jack Powell gave a presentation about Honor Flight, the organization that takes our military veterans to visit the war memorials in Washington, D.C.
He spoke about how the program got started with Earl Morse, a physician assistant and retired Air Force captain who working at a Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in Springfield, Ohio, who became aware of World War II veteran patients wanting to but unable to see the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Morse offered to fly with two veterans to Washington to see the memorial and they accepted. This goodwill gesture was pitched to private pilots at a local Air Force Base with 11 out of 300 agreeing to pay the expenses themselves and to personally escort these veterans around Washington, D.C.
In 2005 a board was formed, funds were raised and volunteers joined. The first Honor Flight took place in May 2005, with six small aircraft carrying twelve veterans to Washington, D.C. from Ohio.
Over the years Honor Flight expanded to include 114 chapters — one the Clinton County Honor Flight which was formed in 2016 with Honor Flight of Dayton’s help.
With our community’s support over $72,000 was raised resulting in 135 local veterans being able to make an Honor Flight and go to Washington, D.C.
Both Earl Morse and Jeff Miller were nominated for and received the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2008 for their vision and dedication to our military veterans. Honor Flight is still active in identifying and offering Honor Flights to those hero’s who have yet to be recognized for their service to our great country.
The Wilmington Lions club greatly appreciated the opportunity to learn about Honor Flight.