Monday, October 12, 2015

Central Missouri Honor Flight # 35

September 15, 2015 ~ Today we embark on Central Missouri Honor Flight # 35 and it's already off to a great start! There is something about walking into Courtyard by Marriott in Columbia, MO on the night of a flight and seeing so many wonderful volunteers, veterans and their families. The volunteers have this down to a science and make everything seem so flawless and smooth. The veterans have no idea what the next 24-hours will be like but I can assure you that they will be treated like royalty. (The photo above is of a "Spry bunch" and although we are not kin we do all share the same last name and will heckle each other the whole day!) 

A good friend of mine's dad was on this flight and although I wasn't his guardian I watched him throughout the day and I'm pretty sure this day would be something he will never forget. 
(Keri your dad is a wonderful guy and you have his eyes and smile!)

When we arrived in St. Louis it was such a nice surprise seeing these ladies welcoming our veterans. You never know where you might see someone holding signs, clapping, cheering or simply saying thank you as they pass by. Truly heart warming and the beginning of a wonderful day! 

These beautiful ladies would be our three female veterans on this flight! The lady in the middle might be a sister to one of the guardians (not on this flight) and we might have given her a little teasing! She was a hoot and the other two ladies were really sweet! 

While the group was at the World War II memorial I ran over to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to find the names of requested etchings/rubbings. We all jump in and do what we can for our veterans traveling with Central Missouri Honor Flight including helping them with locating names on the wall. Every time I visit the wall I can't help but have a heavy heart for the lives lost. I guess honestly I feel the same at the other memorials yet this one is different. I guess because this memorial is the only one that actually has all the names of the men and women who lost their lives in the Vietnam war. My hope is that those that visit this memorial find some peace in the coming days, weeks, months and years. 

The Korean Memorial 

This "Candy Girl" is a hot mess! She had us all cracking up at the Guardian briefing saying that a Candy Girl was a bucket list item and she was so excited and honored to be a Candy Girl on this flight. She did an amazing job! 

If you have never been to Washington, D.C. you need to make plans to go. If you have never seen the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown you most defiantly need to see this! It's truly incredible to witness and I still don't know how they are so precise. 

A group photo of all veterans on Central Missouri Honor Flight # 35! 
What a good looking bunch of young men and young women! 

The Air Force Memorial
Our last stop before getting to the airport to come home! 

When we got to the St. Louis airport and heading to the buses we were greeted by these awesome folks... Thank you for taking time to come out and welcome our veterans home! 
As everyone is supposed to be seated on the bus so we can head home one of our Guardians wasn't listening... That's our Marine Hal and buddy you are a mess! Ha! 
(Every now and again we do love to heckle each other)
(Thankfully he sat down right after this and the buses began moving)

So on the way home after nearly 24-hours of no real oral hygiene the Blue Bus Captain, Sharon Paulsell convinced the Red Bus Captain, Steve Paulsell that they really need to work on this. So it was that time of night that we got the "Whisps" out and everyone was asked to brush their teeth with cute little toothbrushes that had toothpaste built in! This was hilarious and I gotta say that I wasn't fully prepared when one guys asks "I don't have teeth so what do I do with this?" I quickly responded with "Brush your tongue!"   (Quick thinking right?!?!) Just then a young man handed me his teeth and asked if I could brush them for him.... I just about died! They laughed and laughed on that one and let me just say for once I really didn't know what to say! This was a wonderful bunch of people and it was an honor traveling with them on this flight!
I think the last picture is my favorite as even the Red Bus Captain had fun! 
(Great job Sharon of implementing this fun part of the trip!) 

Thank you to everyone that made this trip possible. From the many sponsors, supporters and friends that allow these veterans to travel free of charge to our Nation's Capital to see their memorials. 
What a great day and full of great memories!

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