EVANSVILLE, Ind (August 26, 2014) — Evansville Indiana is one of the more patriotic places across this great country by far, there seems to be a very large WWII Veteran population in the counties surrounding Evansville to support an Honor Flight. In years past the WWII Veterans from the area have been invited to take part in an Honor Flight out of Indianapolis. Several have done just that with three men having just flown this past May 10th. However given the long drive involved coupled with a need for a two nights stay at a hotel near the airport many of our Heroes are hesitant to sign up for such a trip. Even though the transportation as well as the hotel accommodations are taken care of by the not for profit group, at an average age of 90, it's often just too much to ask of them.
Local residents Ashley Gregg and Jerry Clewlow established a strong committee of professionals who have been meeting for the past two months to bring the Honor Flight program to Evansville. The director of Indy Honor Flight, Grant Thompson, reached out to their committee to share his successes thus enabling the process to move forward much more quickly. He immediately decided to do what any grandson of an Iwo Jima Marine would do instead of asking the Veterans to head up to Indy to take part in the Honor Flight, he's bringing Indy Honor Flight to the Veterans. Grant was recently in Evansville to support the committee for getting things organized and meeting with community leaders as well as potential supporters. One of the companies the team met with was Atlas Van Lines who has a long standing reputation for employing and supporting the military. Management Representatives from Atlas were quoted as saying "You had me at Honor Flight." Having seen a group as they arrived at a DC based airport recently they were more than interested in helping to bring this great program to Evansville. A short time after that meeting a very substantial check arrived that will cover the cost for more than 20 local Heroes to make the trip. Just as importantly it was enough to make the deposit on the 150 seat aircraft they will charter this coming Fall when the first Honor Flight flies non-stop from EVV to DCA for the same day trip.
Once they arrive in DC the Veterans will travel on three deluxe buses as they tour their WWII Memorial and other memorial sites in DC. Atlas Van Lines has sponsored an entire bus full of Veterans. "They didn't have to be sold on the idea, they simply knew that the time to say thank you is fast running out and they did the right thing." Mr. Thompson went on to say "We are still needing to raise a lot of money as well as enroll more WWII Veterans and Guardians to assist them. Thanks to the good folks at Atlas the Honor Flight out of Evansville now has a date!"
Saturday, October 25th, 2014 is the date for the first Honor Flight out of Evansville to happen.
Please visit www.indyhonorflight.org/evv to learn more.
About Indy Honor Flight
The Honor Flight program is a not for profit organization that provides free transportation to our elderly Veterans so that they may visit the memorials which have been erected on their behalf so that they may visit the National WWII Memorial that stands in their honor. Most of these brave men and women would not have been able to make such a trip on their own. Having not been completed until 60 years after the end of WWII the youngest WWII veteran today is 85 years old. For most of these men and women, it is the first and last chance they will have to see their Memorial.
In 2004 The WWII Memorial was dedicated and opened to the public. The sad truth of the matter however is that at that point in time the average age of our WWII Veterans was 80 years old, leaving many financially and/or physically unable to visit THEIR memorial. Honor Flight to the rescue! The Honor Flight program is comprised of volunteers who work tirelessly at first fundraising, then planning the logistics before making the one day trip itself. Then they do it again, chartering full size planes and filling them with as many as 80 veterans and 80 volunteers.
Lately Indy Honor Flight is one of the busier "Hubs" in the not for profit Honor Flight Network. The network consists of over 100 such hubs in over 35 states which have collectively transported over 100,000 American Veterans to Washington DC absolutely free of charge. The Indy hub made their first flight in 2012, then two in 2013, having already flown twice this Spring they have four more flights planned for the Fall of 2014.
Having met the evening prior the Veterans and their Guardians will arrive early at the Airport and after a 90 minute flight board buses that will transport them around our Nation's Capital. The first stop is the WWII Memorial, the reason for the trip. When the Veterans touch the names of the battles etched in stone, or gaze upon the wall of stars, each of 4,000 representing 100 American lives lost during the war, they know their friends and their accomplishments will never be forgotten. Next it's on to the Korean, Lincoln and Vietnam memorials. Finally a visit to the Marine memorial before ending the day at Arlington National Cemetery and laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then we head back home to Indiana, sharing stories along the way.
About Atlas Van Lines
Atlas Van Lines, a national moving company, is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, an Evansville, Ind.-based company. Atlas World Group companies employ nearly 700 people throughout North America. Nearly 500 Atlas interstate moving agents in the United States and Canada specialize in corporate relocation, household moving services and in the transportation of high-value items such as electronics, fine art, store fixtures and furniture. For more information, visit www.atlasvanlines.com.