Winston-Salem, NC, April 16, 2010 – Members Credit Union (MCU) raised $5,500 for the Triad Flight of Honor, a project led by Rotary Club District 7690 that honors World War II veterans by sending them on a day trip to see the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The cost to send a veteran on this trip is $500 and each scheduled flight will carry 100 veterans at no cost to them.
“After sending 200 veterans to see the World War II Memorial in the fall, nearly 600 local World War II Veterans have applied and are on a waiting list for a future flight,” stated Jeff Sims, Flight Director of the Triad Flight of Honor. “The public response has been overwhelming and we have chartered three flights for this spring and are planning at least two more flights in the fall.”
The response from local veterans is not surprising. The World War II Memorial opened in 2004 to honor a generation of veterans that once numbered sixteen million. Today nearly 1,200 World War II veterans pass away daily. Many veterans will never get the chance to see their memorial and the surviving veterans are now in their 80’s or 90’s.
“It’s too bad this couldn’t have happened three years ago,” comments Bill
Russell, one of the founding members of MCU, who served in the Marines during World War II. “Just think of all the people who would have had the chance to go.”
Russell had the chance to go three years ago and toured the memorials in Washington, D.C. with his sons and grandchildren.
“It was wonderful to see the people visiting and the memorials are great. Any veteran who leaves a tour of those memorials will leave proudly with their chest sticking out,” remarked Russell.
The fundraiser for Triad Flight of Honor is just one way MCU will honor veterans this spring. Earlier this year MCU collected photos of members and their loved ones who served in World War II in order to create a slide show tribute. John Thacker (member since 1986) brought in a picture of the USS Defense, the ship on which he sailed as a Navy man serving in World War II. Last year, Thacker took the flight to Washington, D.C. thanks to the Triad Flight of Honor.
“It was one of the most inspiring things I have ever been through,” Thacker recalled. “It impressed me to see the general public’s appreciation for us.”
The money raised at MCU is enough to send eleven veterans to Washington, D.C. where they will also tour the Korean, Vietnam, Lincoln, Air Force, Iwo Jima, and FDR memorials.