“The response we have received so far has been touching and overwhelming. We know there is a need out there for these flights,” said Eric Konupka, president of Honor Air Mid-South. “Everyone has been very appreciative that we’re doing this for our veterans, and we’re going to try our best to accommodate as many veterans as possible on our first and future flights.”
The first flight will take place in October, and veterans who would like to participate can fill out an application at the Honor Air Mid-South website. Participants will depart from the Tunica Airport with an airport send-off and Washington welcome for the veterans. The day’s activities will include a tour of memorials that were built in honor of veterans, including the World War II Memorial.
Individuals in West Tennessee, Northwest Mississippi and East Central Arkansas are eligible to receive a trip. Top priority will be given to World War II veterans and any veteran with a terminal illness.
Konupka, who himself is a veteran, created the Mid-South chapter of Honor Air to give something back to veterans who thought they would never have the chance to see the memorials that were erected in their honor. In order to offer these free flights, Honor Air relies on donations from individuals, businesses and corporate sponsorships.
There are various volunteer opportunities available with the organization. The first type of volunteer position is a guardian, who will assist veterans during the trip. There are also four student ambassador guardianships available at no cost to selected students. These positions are designed as an educational opportunity to give youth a better understanding of World War II and the sacrifices that were required. For those who would like to volunteer before and after the trip, general volunteer opportunities are also available. Individuals can apply for each of these positions online.