Honor Flight includes Lancaster, Crab Orchard veterans
Joe Day of Lancaster and William O. Saylor of Crab Orchard are among the war veterans traveling from Lexington to Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Sept. 22, as part of this year’s Honor Flight. Day and Saylor will join other Kentucky veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War for a one-day tour of memorials that are dedicated to their service and sacrifice.
Day, an 83-year-old Korean War veteran, and Saylor, a 77-year-old Vietnam War veteran, will represent Inter-County Energy, which is sponsoring the all-expense paid trip. Day served in the Air Force and Saylor served in the Army.
“It’s an honor for us to sponsor both Joe, William and the other heroes from Kentucky,” said Jerry Carter, rresident/CEO. “This trip is a small thanks for their big sacrifices. We owe them so much for the freedoms we enjoy.”
This is the eighth year Inter-County Energy and Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have sponsored Honor Flight. The 2018 contingent includes 97-year old Henry Howard Smith of Flemingsburg and 96-year-old Frank Zupan of Frenchburg, who are among the oldest WWII veterans living in Kentucky.
Around 6,400 World War II veterans, most in their late 80s and 90s, call Kentucky home. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 362 World War II vets die each day, which makes every Honor Flight a race against time.
“We want our veterans to have the opportunity to see the memorials erected in their honor, while they still can,” said Dan Hitchcock, VP member services. Honor Flight Kentucky is actively recruiting eastern Kentucky veterans, especially those with birthdays in the 1920s, to make the trip.
Sixty-nine veterans are set to make this year’s trip. Other sponsored veterans will join fellow heroes such as Zupan, an Army machine gunner who earned both the Silver Star and Bronze Star medals and a Purple Heart while fighting in the Pacific Theater.
The veterans will fly from Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., where they will board buses for a full day of honors and sightseeing. The day includes viewing the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Honor Flight representatives will participate in a wreath-laying service at the tomb.
Capping off the day is a homecoming celebration to further honor the veterans.
Families, friends and supporters are invited to gather by 8 p.m. Sept. 22 at Blue Grass Airport
to greet the veterans when their flight arrives from Washington. There will be additional parking available at the airport to accommodate the crowd.
“Come help us make this one of the best days ever for these American heroes,” urged Dan Hitchcock.
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