A little more than a week ago, Polk County officials awarded $125,000 to the Central and Western Iowa Honor Flight organization to send a plane full of Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C. to see a memorial built in their honor. But, there’s not enough room on the plane for all of the veterans who want to go.
Jeff Ballenger of Council Bluffs, who’s organizing the honor flight, says the initial plan called for giving 130 Korean War veterans a free trip to the nation’s capital on September 30. But, as of this Thursday, 318 Korean War veterans from Iowa have applied for the trip. “One veteran even spent $21.95 to overnight his application to make sure we got it, so that tells you what this program means to our veterans,” Ballenger said.
Roughly $250,000 more is needed to cover the expenses for all of the veterans who hope to see the Korean War Memorial. Iowa businesses and individuals, since 2007, have contributed enough money to send roughly 2,300 World War Two veterans to Washington, D.C. “Iowans are very patriotic by nature and appreciate what our veterans have done for us and the sacrifices made. They’ve usually just stepped right up to the plate,” Ballenger said. He’s hoping they’ll do so again, so one or two more planes can be booked to accommodate the demand.
Iowans can learn more about making a tax-deductible donation to the Korean War veterans’ honor flight by calling 712-322-6638 or by visiting the website:www.centraliowahonorflight.org.