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A mission of healing

Old Glory Honor Flight hosts first flight for GWOT veterans

Old Glory Honor Flight
In addition to the new mission, the Old Glory Honor Flight will continue to honor veterans through their flights to Washington D.C. The program has honored 5,450 older veterans through its Old Glory Honor Flight missions. Jim Koepnick photo

By Kris Leonhardt


GREEN BAY – The Old Glory Honor Flight will host a first-of-its-kind mission this fall to honor 50 veterans who served during the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). 

Old Glory Honor Flight Executive Director Diane MacDonald said the time had come to provide an opportunity for younger veterans to heal and bond with other veterans.

“Old Glory Honor Flight (OGHF) works with a diverse group of veterans in northeast Wisconsin. While we already have a very healthy flight schedule by taking our older veterans including those that served in Vietnam and earlier to Washington, D.C., we felt like the time was right to highlight another very deserving group of younger veterans who served post-9/11 during the Global War on Terrorism,” she explained.

“We know that many of our younger veterans are hurting and we wanted to figure out a way to honor them and provide support to them so visiting the place where it all started (New York) seemed like a great start. We interviewed dozens of GWOT vets; the idea was overwhelmingly positive so we decided to go for it.

“We hope this mission gives the veterans time to reflect, bond with other veterans and ultimately provide peace and closure from their time in the service. We know that getting these men and women together is the first step. And once they have some time to get to know each other, share stories and have meaningful conversations, they can be a resource for one another not just during the trip, but afterward as well.  We want our veterans to know they are never alone.”

“I work with veterans on a daily basis and they are hurting right now. We must keep working to bring down the veteran suicide rate, increase mental health awareness and help them heal. These vets need to know that they’re never alone. I’m so proud to be working with Old Glory on this; I know it will make a difference in the lives of the veterans,” stated Ken Corry, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, U.S. Air Force veteran and mission ambassador.

The “Freedom to Liberty Tour: A Mission of Healing” will leave for New York City on Sept. 28 and return on Oct. 1, with visits to the 9/11 Memorial, 9/11 Museum, the Freedom Tower and the Statue of Liberty.

The mission is open to veterans living in northeast Wisconsin including Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Fond du Lac, Forest, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago counties.

Fifty veterans will be selected through a random drawing.

The mission is free to those selected; however, MacDonald said that funding is still needed.

“We are actively seeking funding for this special mission. Old Glory Honor Flight is privately funded, we don’t receive any assistance from state or local government so we rely on the generosity of businesses, individuals and civic groups to help pull this off. Our budget for Freedom to Liberty: A Mission of Healing is $125,000 so help is needed to send these heroes on their ‘tour of honor,’” she said.

The application period opens Feb. 1 and runs to Feb. 28.

For more information or to apply, visit www.oldgloryhonorflight.org.

The program has honored 5,450 older veterans through its Old Glory Honor Flight missions and will continue to honor veterans through their flights to Washington D.C.

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