Tradition of honoring veterans continues with Honor Flights

By Heather Fuller

Lyndon High School’s Honor Flight tradition continued this spring as two more groups of veterans voyaged to Washington D.C. alongside high school students.

May 21-22, fourteen LHS students acted as guardians for 15 World War II and Korean War veterans from the Osage County area. This trip was also an inaugural trip for Wamego High School. Nine of Wamego’s National Honor Society members brought nine veterans from the Wamego area, along with two teacher sponsors who hope to make Honor Flight a tradition at their school. The husband and wife team of Dr. Darryl and Jo Nelson of Lee’s Summit, Mo., once again offered their time to act as the flight’s doctor and nurse as they have for several Lyndon trips in the past.

The second trip was held from June 2-3 as 26 LHS students assisted 26 area veterans on the trek to D.C. The trips were similar, beginning with an early morning departure from Kansas City on a nonstop flight to Baltimore.

The veterans then made a mid-morning visit to the National Mall that featured the WWII Memorial and the Korean War Memorial followed by a few other stops before a nice supper and hotel stay. The next morning found the group at Arlington National Cemetery for the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then, the group made their way back to the Baltimore airport for lunch before heading back to Kansas.

These trips were sponsored in large part by the W.S. and E.C. Jones Trust, whose trustee is Bank of America, along with a memorial in honor of Evelyn Slayman, who was honored with the flight in 2009. Support staff included administrators and staff from Lyndon and Marty Feltner, veteran coordinator.

Honor Flight is an organization that was started by Earl Morse, of Ohio, in 2005 with a mission to “Transport America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.” Since 2005, the Honor Flight Network has expanded to many other states, as was evident by the many other groups of Honor Flight veterans this area’s groups encountered on their trips.

Kansas Honor Flight, which was inaugurated by Lyndon High School under the direction of Brian Spencer, USD 421 superintendent, is unique in that high school students act as guardians for the veterans, providing a rich intergenerational and educational experience for both parties involved.

Anyone interested in nominating a veteran for Honor Flight, assisting on an Honor Flight as a guardian or sponsor, or donating to this cause, should contact Spencer at 785-828-4413 or Feltner at 785-828-4433. For more information about the Honor Flight Network, visit www.honorflight.org.


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