Honor Flight luncheon held to celebrate memories, encourage more to participate

| December 20, 2017

Dave Dilly, far right, led a presentation about Honor Flights held Dec. 19 at the Coshocton Senior Center. Josie Sellers | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Dave Dilly, who has gone on multiple Honor Flights, likes to get participants in the program together to share their stories and encourage them to get other veterans to sign up for the program.

Honor Flight Columbus flies World War II and Korean War veterans for free to Washington, D.C. for the day to visit memorials dedicated to their service and others as time allows. They put terminally ill veterans from any era at the head of the line and are now accepting Vietnam War veterans for regular flights.

Local veterans who have taken the flight and guardians who have gone along to assist them had lunch together on Dec. 19 to share their pictures from the trip and their experiences. They also remembered those who have taken the trip and passed on and heard from Honor Flight Columbus Board Vice President Roger Dyer and Board Member Joe Machado.

“We do this to honor our veterans and we think we do a pretty good job at it, but if there is anything we can do to improve let us know,” Dyer said. “We want to get veterans there (to D.C.) and we want them to have a good time.”

He shared that Honor Flight Columbus has taken more than 5,200 veterans from Central Ohio to see their memorials in D.C.

“We have about 1,000 (veterans) on our waiting list and we hope to move 500 of them off the list this coming year,” Dyer said.

Machado especially encouraged Vietnam Veterans to sign up for the trip and get the proper welcome home they never received.

“You probably remember coming home at a time when soldiers were being spit on and blamed for what our country was doing when you were only doing your job,” he said. “This time you can get the thank you that you deserve.”

Those who participate in the Honor Flight are welcomed back to the airport in Columbus by crowds of people.

“You need to do this for the veterans who have passed on and never got to be thanked,” Machado said. “Take the trip on their behalf.”

For more on the Honor Flight, visit www.honorflightcolumbus.org/home.html. You also can stop by the Coshocton County Veterans Service Office in the basement of the courthouse and they will help you fill out an application for the flight.

“We are a family,” Machado said. “If you have been on an honor flight or signed up to go on one, we are Honor Flight family. I hope you take that to heart.”

Before lunch was served Jack Patterson shared with the crowd that he has been on three flights as a guardian and would love to go back again.

“I could go as a Vietnam Veteran, but I want to keep going (as a guardian) to help others,” he said.

Guardians pay their own way for the trip, but veterans fly for free and many area organizations have made donations to help with travel expenses to and from Columbus, where the flight leaves from.

“Anyone who wants to go and is willing can,” Dilly said. “If you take medicine or need a wheelchair they will take care of you.”

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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