The Palmetto High School Air Force JROTC and the Palmetto High Student Council presented a check for $6,000 to Honor Flight Upstate South Carolina today last Wednesday (Feb. 22) at Palmetto High School. Students at Palmetto High School and Cedar Grove Elementary supported the fundraiser for the upcoming spring Honor Flight that will depart from Greenville/Spartanburg International Airport. Pictured: Cadet Colonel Mikaela Mauldin presents Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper with a check. , Student Body President Adam Wardlaw and Palmetto High Principal Mason Gary look on. Skipper is on the Honor Flight Board for the upstate.
By Stan Welch
Honor Flight, an organization which flies WWII veterans to the nation’s capitol to visit the WWII Monument received a check from the Palmetto High School United States Air Force Junior ROTC for six thousand dollars Wednesday.
Those funds will allow twelve veterans to fly to Washington DC to be honored and to visit the WWII monument, as well as the Lincoln Memorial, the Koream War monument, and the Viet Nam Wall.
AFJROTC, which consists of 134 members, decided at the end of the last school year to make this their project. The Palmetto High School Student Council made their support obvious.
Honor Flight bracelets, tee shirts and pins were sold to raise the funds. The Veterans Day Committee at Cedar Grove Elementary School became involved, and students at that school also sold bracelets to raise funds.
Honor Flight was founded in 2007 to honor the WWII veterans who were dying at rates estimated at a thousand a day. No national monument to those who served in WWII was built until less than a decade ago.
Colonel Mike Creamer, advisor to the AFJROTC unit, said his unit worked hard, even selling the bracelets and tee shirts at Clemson athletic events. “They set a goal and they really went after it. They performed well and achieved their objective. It is an honor for us to be able to honor such proud veterans.”
Cadet Colonel Mikaela Mauldin, as well as PHS Student Body President Adam Wardlaw and Principal Dr. Mason Gary were on hand to present the check to Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper, who represented the Honor Flight organization. Skipper , as well as Sheriffs Loftis (Greenville Co.) Stone (Pickens Co.) and Singleton (Oconee Co.), is on the Honor Flight Board of Directors.
He spoke to the audience, reminding the younger members that during that time, instant communications were non-existent. “These men and women often arrived home without any fanfare or even the knowledge of their families that they were coming. Most homes didn’t have a telephone back then, so a lot of times, these veterans just walked up to their front doors and said, “Mom, I’m home!”
Wayne Rogers, a Navy vet who was on hand, will make the April 17 flight from GSPA airport to Washington, and return late that evening. Guardians are provided for each veteran. Richard Reece, who along with Betty Waldrop, help to organize the trip, said that the airport does all it can to make the event special.
“They reverse the escalators so that they both descend. Then they alternate bringing the vets down. The band will be there and they will play the service anthem of whichever branch the veteran served in. There is always a huge crowd and they really give these folks a special welcome.”
The members of the Cedar Grove Veterans Day Committee are Dr. Eunice Williams, Diana Mitchell, Jane Tucker, Andrea Moore, and Margaret Brown.
Honor Flight Upstate South Carolina is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization that is dedicated to honoring our World War II veterans and the many sacrifices they have made to keep our nation safe and our people free. Veterans, who have never had the opportunity to see the memorials due to physical or financial limitations, are invited to apply for upcoming flights. There is no cost to the veteran to participate in this worthwhile program. It is extremely important to extend this opportunity in a timely manner to all interested veterans as they range in age from the 80’s to over 100 years old, and are dying at a rate of over 1000 daily throughout our country.
Many volunteers from the Upstate have joined forces with numerous organizations and businesses to make these trips possible. In addition, the following elected officials are supporting the efforts to take every Upstate World War II veteran on an Honor Flight: U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper, Greenville County Sheriff Steve Loftis, Pickens County Sheriff C. David Stone, and Oconee Sheriff James Singleton. Major corporate sponsors include Lockheed, Verizon Wireless and Spinx.
Time has never been shorter for the country to say thank you to WWII veterans. Funding is still needed to make the trip possible for another group of WWII veterans this spring.
Eighty veterans travel on each trip which in total costs $50,000. Honor Flight Upstate South Carolina is operated completely by volunteers, and 100% of donations go directly to the costs associated with taking veterans on this experience of a lifetime.
For more information on how to get involved, make a donation or apply as a guardian or veteran, visit www.honorflightupstatesc.com.