Honor Flight Syracuse plans inaugural mission

Organization flies WWII vets to Washington DC memorials at no cost

— Military veterans from the Syracuse area will begin this week to be able to visit memorials dedicated to honor their sacrifices in Washington D.C. through the new Honor Flight Syracuse program.

Honor Flight Syracuse, a part of the Honor Flight Network, operates using air flights from Hancock International Airport to fly veterans to Washington at no cost to them. The current focus is World War II veteran trips, but those from any conflict who have a terminal illness are also eligible.

Local volunteers organized Honor Flight Syracuse this past Spring as a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization to serve Central New York’s military veterans. Most significantly, Honor Flight Syracuse expands Honor Flight mission opportunities and reduces area veterans’ travel time to participate.

American Legion Post 239 Auxiliary graciously provided seed funding to defray start-up costs. Skaneateles Sunrise Rotarians have been instrumental in bringing this worthy program to Central New York. The Villas of Summerfield also helped raise funds, providing a venue for many activities during this initial phase.

Honor Flight Syracuse will conduct its inaugural mission Saturday, Oct. 6, for 27 WWII veterans. SRC, Inc. and American Eagle are the Major Corporate Sponsors for this mission.

The American Eagle charter aircraft will depart Hancock International Airport about 8 a.m. and return from Washington, DC about 6:45 p.m. that evening.

Honor Flight Syracuse plans to continue and increase the number of missions in 2013 and beyond. Following the inaugural mission, the Honor Flight Syracuse volunteer board of directors will continue to address funding and recruiting and training volunteer staff to sustain the program for future Honor Flight missions from Hancock.

To apply for a future Honor Flight Syracuse mission or to volunteer, complete and submit an appropriate application available from the website HonorFlightSyracuse.org, or call Randy Flath at 430-3779 and request assistance in applying.

Veterans are flown on a first-come, first-served basis, per application receipt dates.

To contribute, use the appropriate form from the website and forward the check payable to “Honor Flight Syracuse” to P.O. Box 591, Syracuse, NY 13209. For convenience, there is also a PayPal link on the website to help expedite contributions.

Honor Flight Syracuse will provide briefings to businesses and organizations upon request. To arrange, call Randy Flath at 430-3779 or email HonorFlightSyracuse@yahoo.com.

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