Central Missouri's 58th Honor Flight is a Journey of Healing

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COLUMBIA – Central Missouri Honor Flight 58 left Tuesday morning. This Honor Flight features 110 veterans from the Korean and Vietnam War.

The flights are paid by donations to the all-volunteer organization. The veterans will take a one-day tour of the WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Marine Corps Memorial, Air Force Memorial, Women in Military Service Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.

The Community Relations Coordinator, Shelley Becker said an honor flight is a way to heal for these men and women. She said it's not about the flight; it’s about the journey.

“It really is a day to change lives, we call it a journey of healing,” Becker said. “It’s a time when the veterans can revisit their time of service with others who served along side them.”

Becker said CMHF allows the veterans with the opportunity to travel together, support one another and collectively remember and revisit their service to the nation.

“It brings closure to so many of them,” Becker said.

She said they operate as “bare bones” as possible. They have no headquarters or paid staff. She said the purpose is so all donations go to the veterans flights.

“The main purpose is to thank our veterans. It’s a time for them to hear, welcome home, it’s a time for them to hear, thank you for your service,” Becker said. “Many of them didn’t get to hear those words.”

More than 300 veterans are on the waiting list for upcoming honor flights. Since 2009 CMHF has flown more than 5,000 veterans to the nations capitol. The organization has raised $4 million in donations to make the flights happen.

“We get our donations from people who believe strongly in our veterans, every donation goes to flying a veteran to Washington D.C.” she said.

Becker said, this is the 58th mission but it never gets old to them. She said the organization treats each flight as if it is the first group.

“We are seeing the honor flight through their eyes,” Becker said.

It costs $300 in donations to sponsor an Honor Flight veteran.