Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight is back

Volunteers, donations get veterans to Washington today

When a 737 roars into the sky above Fort Dodge Regional Airport just as the sun begins to brighten the horizon this morning, one of the most unique and heartfelt tributes to area veterans will be back in action.

There will be about 108 veterans aboard that plane. They will be going to Washington, D.C., for free to see the nation’s war memorials.

The trip will be the 24th one conducted by the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight. The first took place in 2010. Since then, about 3,000 area veterans have made the journey.

The Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight is largely the vision of one man, Ron Newsum, of Fort Dodge. Newsum wanted to get his father, the late Clem Hentges, a Navy veteran of World War II, to Washington. He enlisted the help of a handful of others and organized a trip as part of the national Honor Flight program.

That initial group hoped to get enough money and enough veterans for one trip.

They succeeded in a spectacular way, and now some 13 years later, they are still taking veterans to Washington.

The Honor Flight committee now includes Lee Bailey, Orene Cressler, Peg Dettmann, Craig Malloy, Russ Naden, Julie Reed, Mel Schroeder, Charlie Walker, Marlene Welander and Newsum. All of them are volunteers. There are no paid staff members.

No tax money is used to pay for the flights and no deep-pocketed corporations are bankrolling them. Each flight is paid for with donations and from money generated by fundraisers. That is a pretty clear sign of the high level of respect that the people of the Fort Dodge area have for our veterans.

Like everything else, the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Three trips were canceled. But now the Honor Flight is back in action.

We salute everyone who has worked tirelessly to make that happen.

To the veterans who will be on today’s flight, we say enjoy the trip. You’ve earned it.


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