submitted by Melanie Jongsma
The Lansing Journal covered the 94th flight by Honor Flight Chicago, and that gave us an opportunity to explain The Lansing Journal Journeys feature and invite people to participate.
The day began at 4:00am at Midway International Airport, where we had two hours to meet people during processing and boarding:
Otha Brownlow is a Lansing resident and a World War II Army veteran. He was happy to see his hometown newspaper covering the event. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Otha’s brother I.L., a Chicago resident, is also a World War II Army veteran. He served stateside as a medic. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Clelia Ginay (seated) was a Navy nurse during World War II. Her caregiver, Julie Lyzenga (left), is a Lansing resident and was able to serve as guardian for Clelia on this Honor Flight. They are pictured here with Honor Flight volunteer Mike Padgen. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Allen Jongsma (this reporter’s father) served as a Marine during the Vietnam era. Because Honor Flight prioritizes veterans based on age and health, the 2019 season is the first time Honor Flight Chicago has been able to begin flying Vietnam veterans. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Jerry Raczak is a Vietnam Army veteran from Chicago. He worked with medevac choppers, unloading wounded and KIA in Qui Nhon. Honor Flight gave him an opportunity to finally experience the welcome home he didn’t receive during the protests of the 1960s. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
The veterans spent a full day in Washington DC, visiting the various war memorials and participating in ceremonies to remember the fallen. After 6:00pm, they returned to Dulles International Airport for the flight home, and took advantage of the opportunity to snap a couple more photos:
Joel Nederhood is an Army veteran who served during the Korean War. The Honor Flight experience brought back a lot of memories and renewed appreciation for God’s plan for his life. (Photo: Allen Jongsma)
Mark Brickell, a Marine veteran, lives in Maryland and serves as an Honor Flight Guardian. Each veteran is assigned a guardian during their day in DC. Some guardians provide medical attention as needed; most serve as personal assistants and help shepherd the group from one site to the next. (Photo: Allen Jongsma)
To read the full story about Lansing’s involvement in the September 18, 2019, Honor Flight, click the link below:
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