By Celeste Amron
On Saturday April 14, T.C. welcomed military veterans who came to Washington, D.C. as a part of the Honor Flight organization. “‘Honor Flights’ mission is to take veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War to see their national memorials in Washington, DC,” said culinary arts teacher Craig Scheuerman.
Scheuerman and administrative assistant Patty Moran worked with the Honor Flight organization to coordinate a date for the veterans to come to T.C.. They also promoted the event for student organizations at T.C..
“These trips are provided at no cost to all qualified veterans. The trips include airfare, bus transportation while in DC, meals, t-shirts, and disposable cameras” said Scheuerman.
The Honor Flight program has 4 flights scheduled for 2018. “American Airlines is providing our chartered flights and this year we will be able to take 110 to 120 veterans on each flight,” said Scheuerman.
Leadership, Key Club, Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), and Drama students cheered on the 116 veterans as they arrived at T.C. for a dinner prepared by Culinary Arts students.
Sophomore Charlotte Russell said, “I heard about the Honor Flight event through the leadership class and thought it sounded like a good volunteer opportunity. I knew it had been held before and heard about how it was a good learning experience interacting with veterans.”
The veterans arrived around 5 p.m. as the volunteers cheered them on. “The JROTC Cadets honored the veterans by forming the Arch of Swords that every veteran walked through when they departed the bus. This is a military tradition to honor soldiers,” said JROTC Sergeant Felisa Holden. The veterans were then helped into the cafeteria to be served their meal.
The Culinary Arts students began cooking the meals three days in advance and served the food buffet style.
The Honor Flight is a life changing experience for many of the veterans. “Many are overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of all who help,” said Scheuerman, “many of the veterans came home from the war and were not welcomed and appreciated for their service to their country.”
Holden said, “We wanted them to know that we truly respect and appreciate them and thank them personally for their service to the nation.”
This is also a humbling experience for the volunteers who participated in the event. “To honor them is one of the greatest feelings, knowing that the event changes people’s lives and helps them feel honored and appreciated in a way most have never experienced. Thanking veterans for their service is so important,” said Scheuerman.
Junior Claire Hazzard said, “I loved being there to see their reactions. Seeing their excitement and appreciation for us was incredible and made me feel really happy and grateful for all they have done for our country.”
This experience was also beneficial for JROTC students who would like to join the armed forces in the future. “When they saw the veterans and actually spoke to them and listened to their life stories it definitely made an impact on them,” said Holden.