Brewers, Bucks, Packers, Stars and Stripes team up for veterans
By Kris Leonhardt
GREEN BAY – On Monday, Sept. 18, Flight of Champions – 2023 Stars & Stripes Honor Flights officially announced their next veterans flights in the Lambeau Field Atrium, which will see three flights leaving from Milwaukee and Green Bay.
Stars and Stripes Honor Flight President Karyn Roelke said that 221 veterans —two WWII, four Korean and 215 Vietnam service members — will leave for Washington D.C. on Saturday, Oct. 7.
“It’s one day, two cities and three teams joining together to make sure that our oldest veterans feel acknowledged, thanked and supported. They’ll be able to travel to Washington D.C. on a one day all expenses paid trip to see their memorials and experience a whole day of honor and healing on Saturday, Oct. 7. Two planes will depart from Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Airport that morning and will return to General Mitchell that evening. One plane will depart from Green Bay’s Austin Straubel Airport and will return to us and Austin Straubel Airport that evening,” Roelke explained.
Former participant, David Farrington, who served in the Army, explained the importance of the Honor Flights for those who served during the Vietnam era.
“You were so proud to wear that uniform and then to have no recognition whatsoever,” he stated, adding that it was very different on the Honor Flight.
“I was very humbled by all of the cheers and the accolades we got everywhere we went.”
Dennis Oberer, a Vietnam-era Army veteran who served 1962-65, spoke about connecting and building a friendship with another veteran who was stationed in the same location 1963-65 but never knew, while traveling on the Honor Flight.
Representatives from the Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks and Green Bay Packers will join the veterans on the flight.
Green Bay Packers Director of Public Affairs Aaron Popkey said that Bill Schroeder, Dexter McNabb and Jared Abbrederis will represent the team on the flight.
“These Honor Flights are particularly a special opportunity to provide what is an unforgettable experience for our veterans. On behalf of the Packers, as well as sports partners, the Brewers and the Bucks, we feel very privileged to help support this flight,” Popkey said.
“While we do play different sports, we all share the great same respect for those who served and are serving our country.
“We appreciate all our veterans, no matter where they serve, we take great pride and to be part of this event to recognize and celebrate their service.”
Roelke said that the organization was thrilled to have support from “our three favorite teams who already do so much for our veterans across the state.”
‘We know that the presence of representatives from the teams will add so much and provide our veterans with even more to talk about as they experience this trip of a lifetime. When the veterans arrive in Washington, D.C., they will join together to tour the monuments and memorials in Washington D.C., including the National Mall and the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery. When the planes return to both Green Bay and Milwaukee that evening, we hope that the community will turn out to give them a wonderful welcome home,” Roelke stated.
The group will arrive at Green Bay’s Austin Straubel Airport at around 7:30 p.m. and at General Mitchell Milwaukee at 8:05 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Airport Director Marty Piette recommended arriving early, as one thousand people are expected at the terminal and parking is limited due to construction.
Concourse A opens at 6 p.m. to welcome people in for the parade of veterans.
Those interested in traveling on a future flight from the Fox Valley should visit Old Glory Honor Flight at www.oldgloryhonorflight.org.
Those from Sheboygan, eastern and southeastern Wisconsin should visit Stars & Stripes Honor Flight at www.starsandstripeshonorflight.org.