Honor Flight receive check from local clubIn 2009 a fundraising effort began for the Northern Valley World War II Honor Flight. The Northern Valley World War II Honor Flight is part of a nationwide effort by the Honor Flight Network to provide a complimentary trip to any World War II veteran so that he or she may visit and experience the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
In 2009 a fundraising effort began for the Northern Valley World War II Honor Flight. The Northern Valley World War II Honor Flight is part of a nationwide effort by the Honor Flight Network to provide a complimentary trip to any World War II veteran so that he or she may visit and experience the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
This effort began because veterans of World War II were not recognized with a national memorial of their own until 2004 — by which time, 65 percent of the 16 million men and women who served in the armed forces were already gone. As of now, fewer than 13 percent of World War II veterans remain. This will be the second and last Honor Flight for the Northern Valley group that picked up where the Fargo-based 2007-2008 WDAY and Forum Communications World War II Honor Flight left off.
Lance Akers, fundraising coordinator for the Northern Valley Honor Flight, said it’s important to send World War II veterans on the free trip to see the memorial for closure.
“For those young men and women who served, World War II was the defining period in their lives,” he said. “It shaped and molded them like no other thing could.”
He said these people answered the nation’s call when the need was greatest and made sacrifices that not all can fully appreciate.
“As the fundraising coordinator for the Northern Valley Honor Flight it has been my pleasure to work with groups and communities from throughout the Red River Valley to make this trip a reality,” he said. “But, that being said, nowhere else have I seen the drive and commitment to honor the veterans like I have here in Jamestown. You should truly be proud of yourselves.”
Last spring Jamestown elementary school children held a number of coin drives to raise almost $1,500 to sponsor two veterans to go on the first Honor Flight. More recently a local business, the Wonder Bar sports bar, coordinated a street dance and “Ride for the Vets” bike run along with The Knights of Columbus, Jeremy Gray, president of Individuals Motorcycle Club, and George Quigley, SE North Dakota Ride captain of the North Dakota Patriot Guard. Between them, their efforts raised more than $3,500. Since then, Deb Gilbertson, the owner of the Wonder Bar, notified Akers of another donation of an additional $1,500 to make the fundraising drive break the $5,000 level.
Akers said none of this would have been possible without the efforts of Jennine Albrecht, daughter of Robert Donegan, a World War II Marine Corps veteran and survivor of the fighting on Iwo Jima who, himself, went on one of the 2007 Honor Flights, She was the local fundraising coordinator in Jamestown.
The flight dates are Sept. 25-26. As of this time about $29,000 is still needed to reach the fundraising goal. Those who would like to make a donation in support of this effort may mail tax-deductible contributions to: Northern Valley Honor Flight at PO Box 12905, Grand Forks, ND 58208-2905.
For more information and the latest updates about the Honor Flight, go to www.nvhonorflight.com or for more information on fundraising and donations call Akers at 701-238-9298.