Work is underway for another honor flight of veterans from eastern Iowa, with the date for the next flight set for October sixth. Eastern Iowa Honor Flight president, Russ Dunn, says they have a lot of work to do to see that all the area veterans get to Washington, D.C.
“We estimate that when we started this that we had about five-thousand World War Two vets in the area and we’ve flown to date just under 600. We’ve started opening it up to Korean War veterans, which adds tot he number of vets in our area significantly,” Dunn says.
Dunn says adding Korean veterans to the honor flights was the obvious next step.
“The honor flight is for all veterans, it’s not just World War Two,” he explains. “Right now we are focused on the older veterans, and that being the World War Two vets. But some of the Korean War vets because of their age and when the war broke out, a lot of them had fought in World War Two, so there’s a natural progression there anyway. there wasn’t a big break in time between the end of World War Two and the Korean war. So we’ve got our hands full as a lot of the Korean era veterans are aging rapidly as well.”
Dunn says sponsors have been generous in providing the funds to allow the veterans to tour the monuments in their honor. He says they are happy to accept a donation from anyone who wants to help their effort. “We take donations year round, our website is EIHonorflight.org and we can also be found on Facebook. On both of those locations there are ways to contact us and to make donations,” Dunn says.
Veterans can also find out how to sign up for a flight on the sites. Dunn is a veteran who served in Iraq and says the October flight will be the third hosted by the Cedar Rapids-based organization. “I got to go on the very first flight as a guardian…just a tremendous experience and from there my participation has continued to grow,” Dunn says.
He says they have a “fantastic” group of volunteers that make things work. “So, it’s not gonna end anytime soon, we’re gonna keep this thing going.” Dunn says they can make accommodations for vets who have special needs, and encourages veterans who’re interest in taking a flight to contact them.