In April of 2017, nearly 70 veterans and their guardians took part in the very first Honor Flight of Southern Illinois. The trip allows men and women who served our country the chance to see memorials built in Washington, D.C. in their honor. This trip is free for veterans, who for the most part served during World War II and the Korean War. However, there is a growing number of Vietnam veterans who make the trip too.
The plane takes off for DC early in the morning from the Veterans Airport in Marion, Illinois. A few dozen people usually show up waving flags and showing their support for those who are making the trip. But that night, a huge celebration happens as the veterans return to Marion. That’s how Clearwave Communications became aware of the program. Clearwave’s Business Development Director Rocky Hull and his wife attended the first ‘Welcome Home’ ceremony and Rocky wanted to get others involved in the experience.
“I can give back personally. It’s a small amount of time and veterans have given years of their life,” said Hull who comes from a family of veterans. His father and all five uncles served our country during World War II.
Hull wanted to get Clearwave Communications involved in the fundraising process. As the only locally owned fiber-based company in southern Illinois, it was only natural to become a sponsor of the Southern Illinois Made Expo, which is a big fundraiser for the Veterans Honor Flight. It showcases businesses that provide goods and services that originate right here at home. Proceeds go directly to the Veterans Honor Flight to allow as many veterans in the region a chance to see the memorials in person.
“We just want to be able to support veterans and southern Illinois,” said Hull. He encourages everyone in Southern Illinois to come out just one time for a send-off or welcome home event. He also encourages other local businesses to get involved with the program as well. Rocky’s favorite part of the whole experience is interacting with the veterans before and after the flight and hearing their stories.
You can be a part of the next Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois. It’s happening Tuesday, Oct. 16. The welcome home event is set to begin around 5 p.m. Learn more here.