(Photo from Touchstone Energy Cooperatives)
Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have once again joined with the Bluegrass Chapter of the Honor Flight Network to sponsor an Honor Flight on Saturday, Oct. 6, for veterans from Kentucky who served either during World War II or the Korean War.
The co-ops are paying to fly about 30 vets, including representatives from owner-member cooperatives of East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC), from Louisville to Washington, D.C.
The veterans will visit the World War II Memorial, the Iwo Jima Monument and the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and will return to Louisville that evening. While in Washington, the veterans will be transported around the city on a chartered bus.
Co-ops are sponsoring veterans from their local service territories to send on the trip. Volunteers representing the electric co-ops will also accompany the vets as guardians to assist them as needed.
“The veterans we sponsored last year said it was one of the greatest days of their lives,” said Jeff Hohman, manager of member services at EKPC. “We owe them so much for risking their lives and enduring so much suffering so that we could enjoy freedom. That’s why we are sponsoring this trip for the second year in a row. It’s the least we could do as a way of saying ‘thank you.’”
EKPC and CoBank recently donated an additional $10,000 to the Bluegrass Honor Flight Network as part of the bank’s “Sharing Success” program.
The contribution is part of CoBank’s “Sharing Success” program, a $3 million matching grant program designed to benefit cooperatives and charitable groups they support throughout rural America. Coinciding with the United Nations’ “International Year of Cooperatives,” CoBank will match contributions by its cooperative customers to nonprofit organizations of their choice for the remainder of 2012, or until the fund is exhausted. The gifts will be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis, from a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $5,000.
“The additional donation will allow us to further our mission of honoring World War II and Korean War veterans from the region,” said Brian Duffy, president and founder of the Bluegrass Chapter of Honor Flight. “These veterans, by their nature, are always so humble and stoic, but it is abundantly clear that these trips are so important to these warriors of yesteryear.”
The World War II Memorial pays tribute to the 16 million who served in the United States Armed Forces during the war, the 400,000-plus who died and all who supported the war effort on the home front. The memorial is flanked by the Washington Monument to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.
(Photo by Tim Webb)
The Korean War Veterans Memorial honors 341,000 soldiers – 88 percent of them from America – who fought to help democratic South Korea repel an invasion by communist North Korea from 1950-1953. Nearly 34,000 U.S. soldiers died in combat during the war.
The Honor Flight sponsored by Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives is part of a larger national network that has 106 hubs, or chapters, in 38 states. The inaugural Honor Flight took place in May 2005, when six small planes flew out of Springfield, Ohio, taking 12 veterans. The network was conceived by Earl Morse, a physician assistant and retired Air Force captain, who wanted to honor the veterans he had taken care of.
In May 2008, Southwest Airlines donated thousands of tickets, and was named the network’s official commercial carrier. The flight sponsored by Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives will use Southwest as its carrier.
(Photo by Tim Webb)
“As Will Rogers once said, ‘We can’t all be heroes. Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they go by,’” said Mary Beth Nance, director of Member Services at Fleming-Mason Energy and co-chair of the Oct. 6 flight. “That’s what we’re doing to honor these veterans.”
Learn more about last year’s Honor Flight by Kentucky veterans by clicking here
From Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives