Five Tomahawk veterans to take Never Forgotten Honor Flight

For the Tomahawk Leader

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Five Tomahawk veterans will participate in an upcoming Never Forgotten Honor Flight (NFHF) to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials that honor their service.

The flight is organized by the Wausau-based NFHF organization, which serves veterans in Barron, Clark, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Portage, Price, Rusk, Taylor, Vilas and Wood counties.

The flight, slated for Monday, Sept. 25, marks the Wausau-based NFHF organization’s 45th flight since the first took place on April 27, 2010.

A total of 111 veterans – four Korean War veterans and 107 Vietnam War veterans – will take the flight.

Among those taking the trip are Tomahawk residents Timothe Blair, Army; Gerry Johnson, Army; Joseph Story, Air Force; Alvin Ericksen Jr., Army; and Charles Kimball, Navy. All five served in the Vietnam Era.

Veterans from other communities throughout northern and central Wisconsin, including Antigo, Harshaw, Medford, Merrill, Park Falls, Rhinelander and Wausau, are also slated to take the flight.

The veterans will be accompanied by 62 guardians on the one-day round trip that departs Central Wisconsin Airport (CWA) in Mosinee at 6:30 a.m. and is scheduled to return at approximately 10 p.m.

The public is invited to CWA to welcome the veterans home. NFHF officials recommend arriving no later than 8:30 p.m. Free parking for those welcoming the veterans home will be provided. NFHF veteran alumni are encouraged to wear their NFHF-issued clothing (hat, shirt or windbreaker) for the welcome home ceremony.

Veterans receive a free round-trip flight, and guardians pay $500.00 for the opportunity to accompany one, two or three veterans on the trip.

Veterans and guardians interested in taking a future Honor Flight must complete an application at www.neverforgottenhonorflight.com or contact the organization at 715-573-8519.

All veterans from the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War eras are encouraged to submit an application. The only criteria for veterans to qualify for an Honor Flight is to have served during the years listed on the application/website, regardless of where they served.

Completed applications for veterans and guardians also can be mailed to Never Forgotten Honor Flight, 4404 Rib Mountain Drive, #234, Wausau, Wis., 54401.

NFHF said the veterans are selected based upon the order in which their applications are received and the conflict they served in.

“Preference is given to World War II veterans, then Korea Veterans, and then Vietnam era veterans,” NFHF stated. “Veterans who are terminally ill, regardless of when they served in those three eras, are given top preference. Guardians should be 18-69 years old and able to lend physical assistance to the veterans.”

Following the flight, NFHF will have flown more nearly 4,300 veterans to Washington, D.C.

North Central Wisconsin’s NFHF is the nation’s 77th regional hub and one of five Wisconsin Honor Flight hubs. The Wausau-based organization was certified by the National Honor Flight Network office in Springfield, Ohio on Dec. 11, 2009.

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