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Honor Flight works to raise funds for liftoff

  • Kim Ecker (far left) of Makanda and Amanda Korando (left) of Marion speak with Dan Fike at the Marion VFW on Friday night. Korando and Ecker were helping to serve food, while volunteering with Team RWB, a civilian/veteran volunteer organization. Proceeds from Friday's dinner went to support the Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois.

    Kim Ecker (far left) of Makanda and Amanda Korando (left) of Marion speak with Dan Fike at the Marion VFW on Friday night. Korando and Ecker were helping to serve food, while volunteering with Team RWB, a civilian/veteran volunteer organization. Proceeds from Friday's dinner went to support the Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois.
    Photo by Shea Lazansky

 
BY SHEA LAZANSKY
Staff Writer
Posted on 3/14/2017, 5:00 AM

The Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois hosted a fundraiser dinner at the Marion VFW last week as part of its fundraising efforts for the program's first flight on  April 25.

Board of directors member Nancy Brown said that the fundraising efforts for the first flight were "going well."

Fellow board member Daniel Nalley agreed with Brown.

"I really think the community of Southern Illinois as a whole has really stepped up, and they've really said 'We want to appreciate all of the veterans we have,'" he said.

The Veterans Honor Flight is a national organization that takes veterans of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War to Washington D.C. to tour the war monuments. The experience is a one-day event.

According to its national website, there are 27,000 veterans across the country currently on a waiting list to take an Honor Flight. To help ease that burden, the Southern Illinois branch was started in 2016, and is based out of the Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois west of Marion.

"We're excited for them (veterans) to get the opportunity to go," Nalley said.

In addition to the fundraiser dinner, Honor Flight representatives also sold raffle tickets for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle purchased by Pepsi Mid-America.

Originally, the proceeds from the raffle were to be used for the flight in April, but due to the number of tickets sold, the date for purchasing tickets was pushed to April 25, with  the proceeds going to the next flight. Tickets can be purchased at Black Diamond Harley-Davidson.

"This is something we can't do once," Nalley said. "We have to continue to do this, and we have to continue to generate the revenue to take these flights, so we're going to continue  to push to do this."

Those looking for information on the Southern Illinois Honor Flight program can visit honorflight.org or the organization's Facebook page.