Taking wing to our nation’s capital to help veterans soar – is a labor of love for an all-volunteer group from Kansas.
Mike Vancampen, President of Kansas Honor Flights tells KSAL News that the mission of the organization is smiple, “To transport Kansas veterans who served our country during WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War to Washington, D.C. to visit the Memorials that commemorate their service to our country at no cost to the veteran”.
Kansas Honor Flight was formed in 2012 as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. Since that time, there have been a total of 93 flights that have provided the opportunity for over 3300 of our veterans to visit our nation’s capital.
The opportunity for this memorable experience is made possible by a grateful public and a large group of volunteers. There are no tax dollars involved. Financial contributions come from many sources: civic groups, military organizations, students, churches, businesses, and individuals.
Kansas Honor Flight is an entirely voluntary organization. There are no paid employees, no offices, no vehicles. Volunteers make all of the travel arrangements, serve as flight leaders and medical personnel, make presentations to groups, contact veterans and conduct fund raising activities across the state.
Some of our aging veterans need assistance to have a safe and comfortable experience. Guardians or helpers travel with the veterans to assist in any way needed. These guardians make a tax-deductible contribution that covers all of their travel expenses, lodging, and meals. While some of the guardians may be family members or friends, some are willing to help serve to help a total stranger.
Priority is given to the older WW II veterans, then the Korean War veterans, and then the Vietnam War veterans. For each war era, the veterans are called in the order that they’ve submitted their applications.
The charter flights depart out of Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita. During the 3 day, 2 night trip, veterans visit the WWII, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorials, the service memorials and the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery. Kansas legislators are often on hand to welcome these Kansas veterans to Washington.
Photos courtesy Kansas Honor Flights
With a waiting list of over 600 deserving veterans patiently waiting, the program needs the continued support of the public and the efforts of the many volunteers.
Applications are available on the web site: www.kansashonorflight.org or by calling 620-546-2400.