Despite delays, dozens remain until Myers and Krueger arrive
by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (July 12, 2018) – “Who are all these people?” asked Tom Parsons as he pulled into the Sunrise Health Foods parking lot with 20 other Legion Riders. The Legion Riders had arrived to escort two Lansing veterans home after a day with Honor Flight Chicago, a service the Riders have been providing for several years.
Usually the bikers are alone in the parking lot, along with representatives from Lansing Police and Fire Departments. But on this night, more than 35 random Lansing residents had decided to join the welcome as well. The original ETA was 9:30pm, so the crowd had been waiting for an hour or more, receiving occasional updates texted by Trustee Maureen Grady-Perovich, who serves as an Honor Flight Chicago liaison. The temperature was comfortable, so most of the assembly didn’t mind spending the time in conversation, though some had to leave before the honorees finally arrived.
It was close to 11:00pm when Korean War veteran Don Krueger and his family pulled into the parking lot. They had the same question: “Who are all these people?” After a day of being honored and cared for and saluted and escorted, Krueger wasn’t expecting one more reception. The whole day had been overwhelming and wonderful for him.
He shook hands and chatted with the crowd while they waited for fellow veteran Harold Myers to arrive. The two live within blocks of each other in Lansing, but they didn’t really know one another before their day with Honor Flight.
Myers arrived several minutes later and received the same welcome. The two spent some time answering questions about their day’s experiences before participating in an impromptu balloon launch. Trelane Grayson, a new business owner in Lansing (The Party Chasers), had arrived on the scene with red, white, and blue balloons, which she distributed to the crowd, effectively turning the gathering into a party.
After another round of thanks, Myers and Krueger accepted a ride from Tony Perovich, who had arrived at the scene in his 1975 Oldsmobile 88 Royale convertible. Perovich chauffeured the veterans home, escorted by bikers, fire engines, and police, with lights and sirens blaring.