REVIEWING 2019 FLIGHTS: Chairman Rick Asper thanked volunteers for our “four extraordinary, successful flights… all organized and produced so it appears seamless to the veterans.” Nearly 300 veterans realized their Honor Flight experience in our first year flying four charter flights. We quickly transitioned to Vietnam veterans from a dozen on the April flight to more than 50 on each of the next three flights.
VIDEO COVERAGE FROM RECENT FLIGHTS:
October 19 flight on WSVN Channel 7: https://wsvn.com/news/local/south-Florida-veterans-return-to-fll-from-honor-flight-trip/
Spirit Airlines (featuring video from September 21 flight): https://vimeo.com/372017375
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2020: With Spirit Airlines again sponsoring four charters, Rick said there would be flights in April, May, September and October with the dates being posted soon on the website. “We are privileged to have this relationship with Spirit,” Rick said, urging everyone to spread the word about how Spirit is serving veterans. He estimated that there are 110,000 World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans in our area, many who still do not know about Honor Flight.
WELCOME NEWS: Congratulations to board member Jessica Easterling! Jessica, totally devoted to honoring veterans and the daughter of a Vietnam vet, gave birth to Summer … on Veterans Day. Jessica plans to remain active with Honor Flight, arranging presentations for military service clubs…. Rick reported that treasurer Jed Wolcott is recovering from his fall in Tavares and expects soon to return to his Fort Lauderdale home.
RECRUITING VETERANS: We can all help here. We will need to have at least 350 registered veterans (including the inevitable cancellations) on our list for four charter flights in 2020. There are currently approximately 150 fully registered and ready to fly. … A group of veteran/volunteers is planning to attend the Meals with Memories luncheon Saturday, November 16 at the Coast Guard Air Station, 14750 NW 44th Court, Opa Locka. This is an excellent veteran recruiting opportunity in Miami-Dade where we need more exposure. All veterans are invited to participate and enjoy the luncheon between 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. … If you would like to assist in presentations to veterans groups, email email@example.com.
FUNDRAISING UPDATE: There have been some successful fundraising ventures, including:
- Brent Sehnert and Bob Howell, representing “The Bourbon Mafia,” presented a check for $8,420 from the raffle of a rare bottle of Buffalo Trace bourbon. The group has also donated to other Honor Flight hubs
- Fundraising chairman Joe Ewart said the November 1 golf tournament raised $13,550, even though it was quickly organized in just seven weeks. There were 132 golfers and some have already said they are looking forward to another tournament. Joe thanked Mission BBQ, Davie Golf Club, other sponsors and a good corps of volunteers.
- More than 80 people participated in the event at Flight 19 restaurant on October 22. Joe said he is waiting for the final report, but expects another strong contribution.
- Elaine Martin reported that volunteers and friends had a chance to show off their artistic skills, party a little and raise some funds at Painting with a Twist — $368 to the Honor Flight account.
MORE FUNDRAISING OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD: Chairman Asper thanked Joe Ewart for quickly producing some strong fundraising events. Rick encouraged volunteers to look for other fundraising opportunities and again explained the valuable role they all can play. “Whatever time you can contribute will pay off,” he said. “Volunteerism is an amazing, contagious disease.” Here are a few more events coming up:
- Raffle tickets are on sale to win a one-week Caribbean cruise for two on Norwegian. Tickets are $10 with the drawing scheduled in March. Tickets can be purchased online at www.honorflightcruises.com. Volunteers are encouraged to take a few books of 10 tickets to sell.
- Mark Saturday, February 1 on your calendar for the patriotic concert at Florida International University.
- Elaine Martin has registered the national Honor Flight Network with Virtual Run. Runners set their own goal and can register for a souvenir medal at — https://virtualstrides.com/honor-flight-virtual-run/ Honor Flight Network will receive a percentage of each registration fee.
OTHER EVENTS: A few more ways that you can participate:
- Elaine announced that the next Virtual Honor Flight is scheduled for Wednesday, February 12 again at South Plantation High School. Many volunteers will be needed with more details to come.
- Carol Filoramo said that volunteers can participate in “Wreathes Across America” on December 14 at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Pompano Beach. This is part of a nationwide event, similar to Arlington National Cemetery’s, with citizens placing wreathes on graves of veterans.
NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, December 11, 6:30 p.m. — Plantation Fire Department, 550 NW 65th Ave., Plantation.
Remember to register for meeting updates and other news at www.honorflightsouthflorida.org/register/
—Tom Christensen, volunteer coordinator