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Honor Flight Network seeks veterans as well as contributions


Veterans get trip of a lifetime to Washington, D.C.

Based on 2011 statistics, the U.S. is losing World War II veterans at the rate of approximately 900 per day, and the Honor Flight Network fulfills the dreams of veterans by providing travel absolutely free to visit Washington, D.C.

Subsequent to the World War II veterans, efforts will then focus on Korean War and then Vietnam War veterans, honoring them similarly.

The inaugural honor flight took place in May 2005, when six small planes flew out of Springfield, Ohio, taking 12 World War II veterans on a visit to Washington, D.C.

In August 2005, an ever-expanding waiting list of veterans led to a transition to commercial airline carriers with the goal of accommodating as many veterans as possible.

Partnering with HonorAir in Hendersonville, N.C., the Honor Flight Network was formed and is still working aggressively to expand the program to other cities across the nation.

In its first year, 2005, HFN transported a total of 137 veterans, a number that increased to 891 in 2006; in the third year, 2007, more than 5,000 veterans participated;

In the fourth year, 2008, HFN transported 11,137 veterans, a number that grew to 17,832 veterans in 2009; in 2010, 22,149 veterans participated; and in 2011, more than 81,000 veterans made the trip.

The Bend Heroes Foundation in Oregon was organized primarily for the purpose of honoring Central Oregon's military veterans, first responders and other heroes by raising funds to assist them and create memorials and scholarships for qualifying heroes.

The Bend Heroes Foundation now participates in the national Honor Flight Network program taking WWII veterans to Washington, D.C., free of charge for four-day trips to visit their National WWII Memorial, the White House, Capitol and eight other attractions.

Both the Honor Flight Network and Bend Heroes Foundation are federal, nonprofit 501(c) 3 organizations, and they welcome donations.

For more information on the Honor Flight Network, visit honorflight.org or call 937-521-2400; for more information on the Bend Heroes Foundation, visit bendheroes.org or call 541-536-8888.