Oklahoma Honor Flights prepare for next trip

The Oklahoma Honor Flights organization is making final plans for the group’s initial flight in 2012. The flight will transport 105 World War II veterans and sixty guardians to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.

The group is scheduled to fly out of Tulsa International Airport early the morning of Wednesday, April 18 on a charter flight directly to Washington. D.C., visit the memorials and then return later that evening.

This will be the sixth flight for the Oklahoma Honor Flights group and the second flight from Tulsa.

The first flight originating from Tulsa  was June 18, 2011 with 98 veterans aboard.

Each veteran travels with all expenses paid while guardians and other volunteers pay their own way.

Each trip from Tulsa costs approximately $97,000, which includes the cost of the charter airline, busses to transport the veterans around Washington, D.C., lunch and other expenses.

Contributions to help defray the costs of the trips are most welcome and are tax deductible.

Individual as well as corporate donations will help transport the veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit their memorials. Oklahoma Honor Flight’s top priority is Oklahoma’s World War II survivors as well as those other veterans who may be terminally ill.

To date, the Oklahoma Honor Flights group has enabled 502 Oklahoma veterans to make the trip to Washington, D.C.    Someday, it is anticipated transitioning to start transporting Korean war veterans and then later Vietnam War veterans.

Oklahoma Honor Flights is a member of the national Honor Flight Network (HFN), a 501(c)(3) organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices.

In 2011, the HFN safely transported 18,055 veterans to see their memorials at no cost to the veterans. Since the inception of the HFN seven years ago, over 81,000 of the nation’s veterans have been transported to see the memorials built to honor their suffering and sacrifices.

"We are losing World War II veterans at the rate of approximately 1000 per day. Oklahoma Honor Flights wants to ensure that all these veterans have the opportunity to travel absolutely free to Washington, D.C. to be able to visit their memorials," according to State Representative Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa, who leads the Tulsa group of Oklahoma Honor Flights.

These trips make an indelible mark in the minds of the grateful veterans making the trip.

Arles Cole, a World War veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor, made the trip in October 2010.

"It was an unbelievable feeling to see all the memorials, particularly the World War II Memorial. Being there with other veterans, many of whom never had an opportunity to see the memorials, was very inspiring," Cole related.

Five flights from Oklahoma are being planned for 2012:  April 18 from Tulsa; May 4 from Lawton; June 6 from Oklahoma City; September 26 from Tulsa; and late October from Oklahoma City.

Specific dates for the latter two flights have not been confirmed and are subject to receiving contributions.

To donate to Oklahoma Honor Flights, please contact:
     Oklahoma Honor Flights
     P.O. 10492
     Midwest City, OK 73140
     Phone: 405-259-9000
     Fax: 405-259-8260
     Web site: www.oklahomahonorflights.org