Ready for takeoff

Honor Flight banquet prepares to send off veterans

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Dale Nook, a U.S. Army veteran from Holstein, and Mike Schmidt, a U.S. Air Force veteran from Ida Grove, attended the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight banquet on Wednesday. The two veterans will be among about 130 area veterans on next week's Honor Flight to Washington DC.

For brothers Alan, Robert and Donald Stork, military service is in their genes. Of the nine brothers in their family, seven of them served in uniform.

Two of the Stork brothers have previously had the opportunity to go on the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight, but this time, it’s Alan, Robert and Donald’s turn.

The three brothers, originally from Breda, will be among roughly 130 area veterans on the Aug. 27 Honor Flight to visit the war memorials in Washington, D.C.

“I’m glad we can go,” Donald Stork said.

“I’m glad we can go together,” Robert Stork added. “I probably wouldn’t go if we weren’t all going together.”

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
U.S. Air Force veteran Dennis Santella, of Panora, will be going on next weekend's Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight to Washington DC.

The three Stork brothers served during the Vietnam War era.

Robert Stork, who now lives in Green Valley, Arizona, served in the Marine Corps and in the U.S. Air Force. His time in service spanned from 1962 to 1986.

Alan Stork, of Carroll, was Airborne Special Forces in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1965.

“He was one of those guys who didn’t want to wait for the plane to land to get off,” Robert Stork joked.

Donald Stork, who still lives in their hometown of Breda, served in the Army from 1965 to 1967, where he specialized in ammunition storage while stationed in West Germany.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Ava Carlson and Madilyn Larson, students at Manson Northwest Webster Elementary School, sing "God Bless the USA" during Wednesday night's Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight banquet at the Webster County Fairgrounds.

Robert and Alan Stork joked that Donald Stork better behave while they’re in the nation’s capital next weekend.

“I’ve got to push your wheelchair and I’ll push that sucker into the Potomac,” Robert Stork warned.

The veterans and their families attended the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight banquet at the Webster County Fairgrounds on Wednesday. Athletes from Algona High School served the meal, which was catered by the Feed Shack.

Members of the Algona basketball and wrestling teams presented a $3,000 donation to the Honor Flight.

Longtime Fort Dodge educator Judge Brown will also be going on next weekend’s Honor Flight. Brown was in his first semester of graduate school when his draft number came up in 1969. After training as a medic for the U.S. Army, Brown shipped to Vietnam to serve at a headquarters aid station at Base Camp Phu Loi, about 20 miles north of Saigon.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Veterans and their families attend the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight banquet at the Webster County Fairgrounds on Wednesday.

Brown said he’s looking forward to seeing the Korean War Veterans Memorial, because he’s never seen it before. He has visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial several times.

“I had two classmates from college and I had a guy who graduated from my high school the year before I did that are on the wall,” Brown said. “It is just staggering to see the now almost 59,000 names on the slab. It’s just staggering to see it.”

Gordon Cochran, of Lake View, served on a U.S. Navy ship during the Vietnam War. His ship ran supplies up and down the rivers in Vietnam to support the U.S. troops on the ground.

Cochran said his crew was “one of the lucky ones” because he doesn’t recall any of his brethren killed in action.

“We saw firefight, but we never lost anybody,” he said.

The Honor Flight is something Cochran has been waiting for.

“I’ve been looking forward to it for quite a while,” he said. “I’m honored that I get to go.”

After Aug. 27, the next Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight is scheduled for May 11, 2023.


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