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American Legion Partners with Midwest Honor Flight to help give 84 veterans a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 11:13 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Midwest Honor Flight is a non-profit organization that takes veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam to visit memorials dedicated to them and to honor their service in Washington, D.C.

The American Legion in South Dakota has partnered with Midwest Honor Flight to help with their eleventh trip.

Currently, Midwest Honor Flight has over 750 veterans on a waiting list to get a chance to visit D.C. with their brothers in arms. The announcement made on Veterans Day of the legion raising over $126 thousand will help another group of veterans have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“It’s quite phenomenal what was raised between all the posts throughout the state,” said Midwest Honor Flight President Aaron Van Beek. “It’s going to fund a flight and that’s 84 veterans that will get the opportunity to go to D.C. next year, all because of the support of communities.”

This partnership has been months in the making, all starting with discussions last April.

“For the American Legion that’s what we’re all about we are veterans strengthening America and veterans serving veterans and their families,” said Gary Wolkow, State Commander for the South Dakota American Legion.

Stephen Butterfield, a U.S. Navy veteran, was on the 8th honor flight and says the trip gave him and other soldiers a sense of closure.

“The experience was great, no matter how long you served during Vietnam we all got treated the same way when you came home, and this just brought us all together in a whole new light,” said Butterfield.

For soldiers who have got the chance to do an honor flight, the experience was more than just getting a chance to see the memorials.

“It’s just like we’re one big family, we’re bonded, and you hear those veterans tell each other stories they probably never tell their families at home, it’s just a bond you can’t explain,” said Wolkow.

Those who have done the honor flight, urge other veterans to do the same.

“Whatever you do put your name on Midwest Honor flight, I don’t care if you feel like you never came home, you have and the honor flight will show you your back, it will help a lot of different guys, feel a lot of different things,” said Butterfield.

More information on the Midwest Honor Flights can be found by clicking here.

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