Honor Flight will take more vets to D.C.

145 veterans are ready to take off

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson Vietnam veteran Paul Wolf, of Farnhamville, is given his gear from volunteer Norene Carpenter for the 15th Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight during a banquet held on Wednesday evening on the Webster County Fairgrounds.

FORT DODGE — Another group of area veterans is heading to Washington, D.C., aboard the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight.

The flight will take off for the 15th time on Sept. 16.

Charlie Walker, board member for the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight, said there are 145 veterans and 15 staff members going along for this tour that will visit several sites during the day, including the Korean War, Vietnam War and Lincoln memorials; a city tour; the World War II Memorial; and Arlington National Cemetery.

Walker said he serves his time on the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight board as tribute to his father, Paul Walker.

“I am doing this in honor of my dad,” he said. “He was a World War II veteran and he passed away before he could attend an honor flight.”

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson Bob and Joleen Fasbender, of Carroll, admire the American Hero singing bear they purchased at the banquet Wednesday evening. Proceeds from the sales of the American Hero singing bears goes to the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight.

Walker said this will be the 14th flight he has attended as a board member.

“I get excited to go on every one and being a part of this board is the most rewarding thing I have done in my lifetime,” he said.

Walker said the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight is designed to honor those veterans who have served in the military during World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War. He said it is not a requirement to have served in those countries, but veterans had to be in the service during those periods.

Paul Wolf, of Farnhamville, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam in 1969, said he is excited to take in the experience.

“I figured I would regret it if I didn’t,” he said. “It’s nice that they go to this much trouble.”

Another Vietnam veteran, Bob Fasbender from Carroll, said he is grateful to be a part of the next Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight.

“I have been looking forward to this since I found out I was put on the flight,” he said. “I called a year and a half ago and found out I was number 359 on the list and I thought I never would be able to go at that rate, so I am very honored. I think this is a neat deal.”

Fasbender said he served two tours in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He has been a part of fundraising for the honor flights for veterans in Carroll County and said he has seen firsthand how those experiences have reinvigorated a lot of the men who have taken part.

During the program held after the meal, Emily Schroeder and Heather Jud entertained the veterans, their guests and others in attendance by singing “God Bless the USA” which moved many to tears as the entire crowd was on its feet waving hands and hats in the air.

Mike Ewing, a Vietnam veteran and previous Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight attendee, spoke to the crowd about some of his own experiences and ways people can help keep the tour available to other veterans.

Ewing said not very many Vietnam veterans felt welcome when they came home from fighting the war. It’s a feeling, he said, that has stuck with many of his fellow Vietnam veterans for a long time.

Ewing said that after he took part in the first Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight that accepted Vietnam veterans in May 2016, “I felt really good about being a Vietnam veteran.” He encouraged those that are part of groups looking for fundraising opportunities to consider the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight.

Then Ewing presented Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight President Ron Newsum and Walker a check for $1,200 raised by the American Legion Post 510 from Farnhamville and the American Legion Riders to help cover the cost for two veterans from Calhoun County who are on the Sept. 16 flight.

Walker said the next honor flight is scheduled for May 2018, with plans for another one in September 2018. He recommends that any veteran who qualifies and is interested in being on an honor flight get their applications in.

“It’s first come, first serve for the most part, so they have to get them in,” he said. “As a board, we have decided as long as we have veterans that want to go and we can keep raising the money, we will keep doing it.”

Fundraising, Walker said, has actually been an easy task.

“It’s all been through donations,” he said. “It costs us $100,000 to take a plane load of veterans out there and we’ve done 15 flights, so you do that math. It’s just amazing in itself, the people in northcentral and northwest Iowa that have gotten behind us the way they have. It just warms my heart.”

For more information about the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight, people can call Walker Law Office at 576- 0671.