Monday, September 25, 2023

Connect with us:

Post 697 welcomes Phil Stewart home from Honor Flight


Air Force veteran returns from a day in Washington DC

LANSING, Ill. (May 16, 2023) – After a day of honor and memories and memorials, Vietnam-era veteran Phil Stewart credited his sister, Jane Redmon, with being what he’ll remember most about his Honor Flight experience on Wednesday, June 14. Jane and her husband Noble drove in to take their place among the crowds at Midway Airport welcoming the veterans home. They were waiting for Phil as he disembarked and was escorted through the airport to the reception area.

Bert Gangolf was at the airport too, ready to drive Phil back to Lansing. Bert is the Chairman of the House Committee, American Legion Post 697. It was around 10:30 p.m. when he delivered his charge to the parking lot of Sunrise Health Foods, right off the expressway exit. Fellow post members, Village officials, and Lansing police were there to welcome Phil home.

Phil Stewart
A crowd of supporters was waiting in the parking lot of Sunrise Health Foods for veteran Phil Stewart to return from his Honor Flight experience. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Phil received a police and Legion Rider escort from Sunrise to the Legion Hall, where the welcome continued in the lower level. The Legion Auxiliary had brought refreshments, and friends and members of the Legion had the opportunity to express appreciation to Phil and hear about Honor Flight.

Phil Stewart
Phil Stewart and his sister Jane Redmon had a chance to reconnect at the Legion. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Phil Stewart
All five factions of the American Legion were represented at Phil Stewart’s welcome home reception. From left: Tina Funchion (Vice President of the Legion Auxiliary), Nick Grigutis (President of the Legion Riders), Jane Redmon (Phil’s sister), Phil Stewart (Honor Flight participant), Ralph Leyba (Legion Post 697 Commander), and Bert Gangolf (Sons of the American Legion member and Chairman of the House Committee). (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The mission of Honor Flight is “to Honor, Thank, and Inspire by building awareness and appreciation of the debt of gratitude America owes its veterans for their service and sacrifice for our nation.” Honor Flight trips are provided at no cost to the veterans.

Veterans from any era can apply to participate in Honor Flight. Information about the program and the application are available at


Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.