Lansing veterans return from Honor Flight after delays

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By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (August 19, 2021) – Eager to carry on the tradition of escorting veterans and servicemembers home after flying back to Chicago, at least 20 people gathered at Sunrise Health Foods to wait for five Lansing veterans returning from Honor Flight.

Honor Flight is a day-long trip to Washington D.C. for veterans. Veterans leave early in the morning before spending the day in the U.S. capital. The flight home usually lands at around 8:30 in the evening, and after a hearty welcome at Midway airport, veterans are greeted in Lansing by the American Legion Riders and other groups and individuals looking to support the veterans.

A crowd was assembled at around 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday night. Flight delays quickly dispersed the crowd, however. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Wednesday night’s flight was delayed at least three hours due to a pilot problem. According to Lansing resident Maureen Grady-Perovich — who serves as a support staff member on the day-long trips — the pilot slotted to fly the veterans to Chicago from Washington ran out of hours, meaning another pilot had to fly from Chicago in an empty plane to pick up the group.

The Lansing veterans on the Wednesday Honor Flight were John Bush, Tony Delaurentis, Marvin Metzger, Ronald Raczak, and William Sonntag.

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Patrick (left) and Mary Jo Gulotta pulled into the parking lot around 9:30 to support the returning veterans. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The reception crowd in Lansing retired at around 9:30 p.m., when word spread that the flight would be delayed. Only Bill and Joann Strauch were in the parking lot at Sunrise Health Foods at midnight, which was the rough estimated time when the veterans would arrive. It wasn’t until about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, however, that Tony Delaurentis and some of his family drove through the parking lot, greeted by Grady-Perovich and The Lansing Journal. John Bush was driven in about 15 minutes later.

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Tony Delaurentis said he enjoyed his (albeit long) day with Honor Flight. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
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John Bush said the same about his positive day. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Despite some rain in Washington and a long flight delay, both Delaurentis and Bush said the day was a great experience.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Cudos to all those who put in hard work to do this for the Vietnam vets. The Vietnam war was a mess (which we have been repeating in Afghanistan for twenty years). But the soldiers of the Vietnam war bore an unfair burden for foreign policy blunders (and lies). It’s great to see them remembered and honored after all these years.

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