August 9, 2015 ~ Today was a Welcome Home party for Central Missouri Honor Flight # 34! These parties are always so exciting because it's a chance for veterans traveling on the most recent flight to re-connect with other veterans, their guardians and staff that also traveled on this flight. It's truly amazing to talk to these wonderful men and women after their trip as you truly see what this trip meant to them. Their smiles are much bigger, their hugs are much tighter and I'm pretty sure their hearts are fuller.
This young man is something else! Such a pleasure to be around as that handsome smile never disappears. Hard to believe that he served in World War II, Korean and Vietnam war! I had the pleasure of talking to his grandson for 5-10 minutes and what a treasure he has with is grandpa. You could tell he was very proud of him and says that he smiles all the time... anything less won't get you anywhere and life's too short. Such a sweet guy!
One of the really cool things during the Welcome Home parties is that various people, organizations and/or groups come up to the stage to talk about a fundraiser they held and present a check to Central Missouri Honor Flight. This is always exciting because you hear from children that held a lemonade stand in front of their house, a VFW that held a benefit, a just married bride and groom that donated to Central Missouri Honor Flight rather than giving a gift to their guests (I believe this was a first for CMHF... pretty cool idea!) and other various ideas for fundraising. It is amazing how a simple idea can bring in hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
Central Missouri Honor Flight has two basic principals.... when they have veterans and money they fly! CMHF has approximately 400 veterans on a waiting list. Getting veterans isn't really a problem but getting funds to fly those veterans free of charge is. Since 2009 Central Missouri Honor Flight has flown over 2,000 veterans to our nation's capital to see their memorials and through various third party fundraisers they have received over $3 million dollars. We are very lucky to have such a generous community that has kept the funds coming in when it was needed. Today was another perfect example of our community coming together.....
Photo credit: ABC KMIZ 17
As many of you already know, a small group of women got together last year and came up with an idea of an all veteran cookbook. Social media was primarily used to ask others for their veterans favorite recipes. On April 9, 2015 we released 1,562 "Veterans Favorites' - A Taste of Home" cookbooks for sale to the public. With 8 mid-Missouri businesses as the cookbook sponsors they paid for the production of the cookbooks so that 100% of the money could go to Central Missouri Honor Flight. Cookbooks sold for $15.00 each and were available at the sponsor locations. In 64 incredible days, because of a very generous community these cookbooks would sell out. On June 12, 2015 together we exceeded the original goal and raised $24,014.42 allowing 80 veterans to fly free of charge on a future Central Missouri Honor Flight! Truly amazing to see a community so dedicated, caring, passionate and loving come together to help our veterans!
(Pictured left to right: Matt Peiter (Edward Jones - Matt Peiter Office), Michele Spry (Midway Electric, Inc. and Midway CSI), Rob Patrick (Hawthorn Bank), Roni Spicer (Don's Family Style Buffet), Ross and Cindy Mutrux (Mutrux Automotive) and Mary Paulsell (President of CMHF)
Not present: Bobcat of St. Louis and Wallstreet Insurance / Jennifer Gerling, Agent)
Today we would present a check in the amount of $24,014.42 to Central Missouri Honor Flight and what a great feeling it was to be able to give back to the men and women that gave so much to us!
Throughout the rest of this program Central Missouri Honor Flight received nearly $35,000 from various groups, organizations and people that were also passionate about this program!
Thank you to every single person that submitted recipes, served our country, sponsored this fundraiser, promoted and purchased cookbooks and/or helped spread the word! Not one person could take credit for the success of this fundraiser as it took an entire community! Y'all ROCK!!!
Please watch Central Missouri Honor Flight's website for information on an upcoming flight!