The Southeast Florida Honor Flight has its own band of brothers. Before the sun rises on April 24, more than 80 World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans will board a jet at Palm Beach International Airport for a memorable flight to Washington, D.C., to visit several sites dedicated to their bravery, service and sacrifices.
The veterans, some of whom are in their 90s, are the heart and soul of the Southeast Florida Honor Flight. With a police escort, four motor coaches transport the veterans to the U.S. Air Force Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery for the Changing of the Guard ceremony, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial. They return home that same night to hundreds, if not thousands, of flag-waving, cheering family, friends and supporters to welcome them home at PBIA.
Pete Granata of Wellington served in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He went on an Honor Flight about a year ago. “It was a wonderful afternoon,” Granata said. “I met others from the area, and we still regularly keep in touch. For me, it was a way of saying, ‘Welcome home.’”
The Southeast Florida Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization, is hosting a major fundraiser in Wellington to help this worthy organization to continue to fly veterans for free on this day of honor.
The Buck Off Challenge, a mechanical bull-riding competition, will be held on Friday, March 15 at 6 p.m. at the Wellington National Golf Club (400 Binks Forest Drive, Wellington).
The competition consists of four-person teams with an entry fee of $100. Costumes are encouraged but not mandatory and usually receive extra points from the panel of celebrity judges. The top three highest scoring team will receive prizes. Several veterans are expected to attend the fundraiser.
“The veterans are treated like rock stars on their Honor Flight,” said Janet Hoose of Wellington, who has been on several Honor Flight trips as a guardian. “I’m honored and privileged to help honor these heroes. The Buck Off Challenge is a fun way to raise money to help our veterans.”
For Buck Off Challenge sponsorship information, contact Bobbi Rottman at (561) 436-1165 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about Southeast Florida Honor Flight at www.honorflightsefl.org.