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Bank of Sierra donates $5,000 to Honor Flight Central Coast 

–Bank of the Sierra has joined the list of supporters of Honor Flight of the Central Coast. Charlie Fruit, longtime local resident and market president for the bank, presented a $5,000 donation to the organization at its recent board meeting.

Honor Flight of the Central Coast provides all-expense paid trips to Washington DC for local senior veterans. More than 300 area veterans have made the trip with Honor Flight of the Central Coast since the local chapter formed in 2014. Trip attendees experience a guided tour of military memorials and monuments and other points of interest in the DC area.

According to Bear McGill, president of the local organization, the group must raise $100,000 each year to host three all-expense paid trips for a total of 66 local veterans. McGill said Honor Flight focuses on older veterans in order to honor them before they pass, and contributions like the one made by Bank of the Sierra are critical to the organization’s success.

“We are an all-volunteer group,” said McGill. “In addition to managing all the logistics and planning and executing three trips a year, we are focused on raising money through individual contributions, grants, and fundraisers like our recent “Vino for Vets” collaboration with local wineries. It takes a great deal of work to get to $100,000 every year. Bank of the Sierra has just given us a great boost. We are so grateful.”

Bank of the Sierra’s Charlie Fruit commented that the bank has a longstanding commitment to the local community. “Our bank supports many local causes,” Fruit said, “and I can tell you Honor Flight of the Central Coast is one that truly tugs at our heartstrings. We are proud to be part of this important effort.”

The layers of community connection run deep. Retired banker and Korea veteran Jim Schiller was so moved by his own 2018 Honor Flight that he volunteered to help the group fundraise. He contacted his longtime business associate and fellow veteran Charlie Fruit to request support from Bank of the Sierra. “Our shared military service, regardless of when it occurred, creates a powerful bond,” said Schiller.

Honor Flight of the Central Coast is making two trips this fall, one in September and one in October. Both are full. To inquire about future trips or be part of the SLO Airport “Welcome Home” celebration honoring the veterans as they return from their trips, send an email Additional information is available online at

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