Paso Robles News|Wednesday, November 13, 2019
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Honor Flight invites local veterans to apply for all-expenses-paid Washington DC tour 

A photo from a prior year’s trip.

–Honor Flight of the Central Coast, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to honoring local veterans, is inviting area WWII and Korean War veterans to apply for a three-day “Tour of Honor” trip to Washington D.C.

According to Bear McGill, president of Honor Flight of the Central Coast, all-expense paid trips are scheduled for May 6-8 and June 10-12, with a third trip pending this fall. The three-day trips offer senior veterans a guided tour of military memorials and monuments and other points of interest in the DC area. More than 270 local veterans have made the trip with Honor Flight of the Central Coast since the local chapter formed in 2014.

The sole purpose of the program, said McGill, is to recognize the very men and women honored by the memorials. “I’ve been on nine of these trips,” said McGill, “and every time I am moved to tears watching once-young soldiers remembering their pasts. They are fiercely patriotic and even with physical limitations, still insist on standing when the National Anthem is played. Everywhere we go, strangers approach our veterans to thank them for their service. It is a powerful lesson.”

World War II memorial

An Honor Flight veteran is wheeled to the World War II memorial.

McGill said Honor Flight of the Central Coast is working hard to identify any local WWII and Korean veterans who may have interest in the trip. “We are fighting the clock on our aging vets,” he said, noting Vietnam veterans are also invited to apply.

He encouraged friends and family members of candidates to contact Honor Flight to learn more. Accommodations are made for veterans needing wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen and other support. A medical professional travels with the group, and every veteran is accompanied by a guardian, usually a family member, who pays his or her own way. “Spend five minutes talking to a guardian and you’ll understand what this trip is all about,” said McGill. “My words just can’t express the impact of it all.”

While Honor Flight of the Central Coast focuses on area veterans, the trips are not limited to SLO and Santa Barbara County residents. “What’s important to us is getting our aging veterans to DC. If we have room and the veteran and guardian can get here, we’ll make it work.”

Honor Flight of the Central Coast is led by a group of volunteers who must raise $100,000 each year to make the trips free to veteran attendees. “Our team works like crazy, but the payoff is beyond measure,” McGill said.

To inquire about future trips, please send an email to info@honorflightccc.org. Additional information is available online at www.honorflightccc.org.

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.