May 12th, 2012 will mark the largest SouthEast Florida Honor Flight to date by including two flights, fulfilling Honor Flight's mission; to transport America's Veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.
DSS strongly believes in Honor Flight's core mission, and strive to support the organization by coordinating fundraisers and serving as a sponsor. Since partnering with the organization in Sept. 2009 DSS employees have participated in nearly every Honor Flight that has been scheduled since November 2009. These trips not only support the organization and our Veterans, but it also provides a valuable perspective to our team who work with Veterans day-in and day-out through our HIT solutions, but it also provides a valuable perspective to our team who supports the healthcare providers and administrative teams in every VA Medical Center through the use of DSS Healthcare Information Technology products.
For the upcoming flight, 21 DSS employees will be on this flight and DSS is also sponsoring two students from Suncoast High School, who are members of the school's Honor Flight program. DSS was recently invited to the school to take part in a day that honored two WWII Veterans. At this event, we expressed how impressed we were with the student involvement in the Honor Flight program and showed our appreciation by sponsoring two students from the program to fly to Washington DC with us on May 12th
Working with Honor Flight has been such a rewarding experience and we encourage you to become involved in your local chapter. Visit www.honorflightsefl.org (our local chapter) & www.honorflight.org to learn more about the Honor Flight program. To learn more about DSS, Inc. Healthcare solutions and job opportunities go to www.dssinc.com
I’m Deeply Grateful for Honor Flight
Honoring Veterans Has Enriched My Life
DSS employees have participated in nearly every Honor Flight scheduled since November 2009. These trips not only support the organization and our veterans, but also provide valuable perspective to our team who works with veterans day-in and day-out through our HIT solutions. For this issue, we wanted to share a volunteer’s story.
Words can’t express how touching it is to be a part of the Southeast Florida Honor Flight. I am so grateful for the opportunity to honor these veterans of the “Greatest Generation” – and to help give them an unforgettable day visiting the memorials to their service in Washington, D.C.
Many World War II veterans have never gotten a chance to see the memorials built specially for them. And considering the fact that 1,200 World War II veterans pass away each day, it’s clear swift action is needed. That’s why groups like Honor Flight organize these trips to our nation’s capital. Even though it’s an occasion of great dignity, it’s also a lot of fun!
On September 24th, I had the privilege of escorting Mr. David Ashe, a World War II Navy veteran, as we visited several memorials in Washington. His daughter Sharon and grandson David also took part in the ceremonies.
Mr. Ashe served for nearly four years in Pearl Harbor and the Midway Islands, two places that witnessed the loss of many American lives. When he returned to Boca Raton, Florida after the war, he became a local hero who was instrumental in preserving the natural beauty of the area and establishing city parks.
Honor Flight wouldn’t be possible without the encouragement of the VA, DSS, and other great organizations in our area. By supporting Honor Flight, they not only pay respect to our valiant veterans, but they enrich the lives of all the people like me who get to be part of this unique event.
World War II Navy veteran David Ashe and guardian Alyson Cruz in Washington, D.C.
The veterans made a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Honor Flight Soars Again This Spring
More Navy vets honored
DSS is proud of its long involvement with Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization that helps World War II veterans visit the memorials to their great service in Washington, D.C. Many veterans don’t have the finances or the physical independence to make the trip, so Honor Flight provides funding and supplies guardians to assist them.
On May 14, ten DSS employees accompanied 75 veterans and 75 guardians on the day-long trip from Florida to the nation’s capital. For the first time, the group visited all of the memorials, including a personalized half-hour tour of the Navy memorial.
“We had 25 Navy veterans and 27 from the Army, plus others from the Marines, Air Force, Army Corps and Coast Guard. We had four ladies with us, too. Most were Army nurses,” says Elaine Penn, ground coordinator with Southeast Honor Flight Inc. “We were thrilled with this trip because they got to visit the Navy Memorial for the first time, along with the World War II and Iwo Jima Memorials.”
The May trip also was the second made on a chartered flight instead of a commercial one. The first was a flight last November that was funded in large part by a boot drive conducted by the Martin County (Florida) Fire & Rescue that raised more than $55,000 from members of the community. Many firefighters also served as guardians on that trip.
Because World War II veterans pass away at the rate of 1,200 per day, time is of the essence. “There are about 370 veterans on our waiting list, which means that many have to wait up to two years for a flight,” says Penn. “As more companies get involved, we’re hoping to shorten that wait time. DSS has been with us from the beginning, and we couldn’t do this without them.”
Birmingham Veterans Day Parade 2010
WW II women share in 'Honor Flight'
WHAT IS HONOR FLIGHT?
A non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. Our heroes are flown to Washington, DC to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – WWII survivors along with those other veterans that may be terminally ill. Funds are raised to guarantee that every veteran fly absolutely free.
A network of participating programs have been formed to assist these senior heroes from all across the country. The program presently has 69 hubs in 30 states. Subsequent to the WWII Veterans, efforts will then focus on our Korean and then Vietnam Veterans, honoring them similarly.
Our veteran heroes aren’t asking for recognition. It is our position that they deserve it.
HISTORY OF HONOR FLIGHT
The Honor Flight program was conceived by Earl Morse, a Physician Assistant and Retired Air force Captain, to honor veterans. After visiting with many WWII Veterans, he learned that although they would love to visit their memorial in Washington, DC, many were not financially or physically able to make the journey.
Earl could tell the majority of the veterans had given up all hope of ever visiting the memorial that was specifically created to honor their services and the services of their fellow comrades who paid the ultimate sacrifice. That’s when Earl decided there had to be a way to get these heroes to DC to see their memorial.
Earl, being a private pilot, asked one of his WWII Veteran patients if he could personally fly him to DC free of charge to visit his memorial. A second WWII Veteran was asked the same question a week later. He also cried and enthusiastically accepted a trip to DC.
Realizing the desire was so great, Earl began to ask for help from other pilots to make these hopes and dreams a reality. Honor Flight first flew in May 2005 with six small planes flying twelve WWII Veterans, departing out of Springfield, Ohio. In 2006, with a waiting list of veterans expanding rapidly, commercial airline carriers were used to accommodate the maximum number of veterans as possible. Partnering with HonorAir in Hendersonville, North Carolina and Hero Flight in Provo, Utah, the “Honor Flight Network” was formed.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
A network of participating programs has formed to assist these senior heroes from all across the country. Resources are being pooled, experience is being shared and alliances are being formed throughout America to get WWII Veterans to their precious memorial safely. Due to the senior age of our heroes, coupled with the prediction that we are losing 1200 of them per day, a firm commitment has been made to do all within our power to make their dream a reality.
A letter from Tony Reese – Treasurer S.E. Florida Honor Flight Network
"As a board Member of Southeast Florida Honor Flight, I am part of a hardworking group dedicated to sending our WWII Veterans to Washington DC to visit their Memorial at no expense to them. Normally this gives me great joy and satisfaction.
This was not the case last week when I had to notify our Board that we lost one of our Veterans. Mr. James Dow was scheduled to take the trip with us on September 19th, 2009. His health was deteriorating, but he was still very determined to take the trip. Oxygen and a wheelchair had been arranged for him. I became very close to the family, checking on his condition, but unfortunately time simply ran out.
He was very special to us. He was the first Veteran to submit his application to SE Florida Honor Flight, and represented Honor Flight during a radio interview in December. On the ride to the interview, Mr. Dow was told that the original trip date may have to be changed from July to September. At that time it did not look like enough funds would be raised to send the Veterans on the trip in July. Mr. Dow shook his head and said, “I don’t think I’ll make it that long.” Unfortunately the date had to be changed. Mr. Dow passed away on August 23-only 27 days before his trip to Washington DC.
We will miss our dear friend, but Mr. Dow will take the trip to the WWII Memorial in the hearts of Southeast Florida Honor Flight.
WWII Veterans are dying at a rate of 1200 a day, and the waiting list to go on the trip grows each day. Currently 97 Veterans between the ages of 82-89 are anxiously awaiting their turn. This is one more reminder the work must be carried on with an increased sense of urgency. WWII Veterans must be afforded the opportunity to take one more flight with honor. "
Please notify your family and friends.
We are looking for WWII Veterans, guardians, financial donors, fundraising ideas and workers.
Document Storage Systems, Inc. is a proud supporter of the Southeast Florida Honor Flight. DSS, Inc. is working in conjunction with Southeast Florida Honor Flight Network in order to help make the dreams of these heroes a reality.