CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A new Honor Flight program has been set up to serve veterans in north-central Tennessee and south-central Kentucky.
Honor Flight is a privately funded nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all veterans have an opportunity to see the Washington D.C. monuments built in their honor.
Michael Flood, a 101st Airborne Division veteran, told The Leaf-Chronicle (http://leafne.ws/1jis4tu) that he decided to start the Screaming Eagle Honor Flight after the nearby Music City Honor Flight in Nashville ceased operating last year.
Flood said he is currently seeking volunteers, donations and other support for his operation in Clarksville, Tenn.
Flood said he decided after seeing a You Tube video of an Honor Flight that he wanted to get involved with the organization.
"I saw how the vets were welcomed in the airport in Washington, D.C., and how they were welcomed coming back home," he said. "I thought that would be a great thing to get involved in."
While the Music City Honor Flight was focused on World War II veterans, Flood says his program will have a wide scope.
"I'm going to do what Honor Flight's original intention was. After the WWII vets, we're going to start flying the Korean War vets and then the Vietnam War vets.
"That was the intention, to serve every veteran, and to honor all of their sacrifices."
In order to accomplish his goal, he has a lot of work ahead of him.
"I'm getting flyers out and taking applications from veterans," he said. "We're trying to start a corporate sponsorship program for businesses that want to sponsor a vet, putting their name on the Honor Flight shirt of a sponsored vet. Then, when the website is up, if you sponsor five vets, we'll put your logo and address on the site until the next flight."
He is also sending letters and lining up speaking dates for veterans and civic organizations.
"I have been to or written to every veterans' organization within 120 miles," said Flood. "Now I'm going to the Rotary, Civitan and Kiwanis. I also wrote letters to the Chambers of Commerce here and in Hopkinsville.
"We're shooting for a September-October time frame for the first flight. I'm going to follow what Tullahoma does and fly 30 veterans at a time, trying to keep the number of veterans and guardians combined to about 50, due to the cost of renting buses in D.C. at $800 a shot."
Information from: The Leaf-Chronicle, http://www.theleafchronicle.com