The Honor Flight season is ready to take off on April 5th. The program that KOMU viewers helped get off the ground takes aging veterans to see their memorial at no cost to them. Of the veterans who've flown on Central Missouri Honor Flights....about 50 have already passed away. Most recently, Paul Schlapper of Odessa died a couple weeks ago. For Mr. Schlapper and his family in Jefferson City, his honor flight came just in time. In 2009, Paul Schlapper told us about his service in the army in Yokohama, Japan. "I was in Japan before MacArthur was," Schlapper remembered.
Noraleen Hord accompanied her father on the trip to Washington, DC. "I was afraid that he wouldn't get to come," Hord told KOMU. "He said I hope I don't have to wait until October because I may not make it."
We are losing our World War II veterans here in Missouri at a rate of more than 20 a day. Paul Herman Schlapper passed away March 3rd at the age of 83. You have an opportunity to welcome home veterans like Mr. Schlapper April 5th at 10:30 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott off the Highway 63 AC exit in Columbia. For some of these men and women, April 5th will be their very last welcome home. Honor Flight travels with a medical team so veterans....don't let a physicial condition keep you from applying. The trip is taken at a slow pace and there are frequent bathroom breaks. To get an Honor Flight application, go to Central Missouri Honor Flight.