Triad Flight of Honor

Ten years after the overwhelmingly supported and emotionally driven Triad Flight of Honor, a new non-profit has come forward to rebirth the treasured veteran flights, now known as the Triad Honor Flight, which will be held on Veterans Day this year.
Alison Huber, executive director and passionate volunteer of Triad Honor Flight, explained that during the Triad Flight of Honor, which focused on WWII veterans, there were 13 flights over two and a half years (2009 – 2011) in which 1,300 veterans in the Triad were honored.
Huber said during the Tri-State Flight of Honor, she was blessed with the chance to meet her father in Washington, DC for his flight from Cincinnati.
“I was there to greet him when he got off his flight,” she said. “That one-day experience completely changed my life. Prior to that, I just didn’t know as much about the military or his service. But, after being there and seeing two WWII veterans holding hands in front of their war memorial, it was extremely emotional.”
Huber said she came back from that experience and started looking into why there wasn’t a Flight of Honor in the Triad.
“I started doing research and realized that we had done it here, but it was only for WWII veterans,” she said, noting that her father is what they refer to as a Tweener (an Army veteran who served between Korea and Vietnam). “We wanted to become one of the national hubs and had to follow certain requirements.”
Huber said they are now one of 125 hubs in the nation and are required to have at least one flight each year. She added that in most of the hubs, there is a waitlist.
Huber said Triad Honor Flight was created in 2020 as a 501(c)3 non-profit for the sole purpose of taking veterans from the Triad to Washington, DC. She noted that all veterans fly for free, paid for through fundraising and donations. The veterans typically have a guardian, who pay their own way.
“We have a board of 12 people,” she said. “We have a lot of volunteers and we’re trying to fundraise because the full flight is about $110,000 – $120,000, which covers the flight, food, insurance, police escort, t-shirts, lanyards, EMTs on the flight and more.”
Huber said they are currently taking applications and will take veterans by age from any of the 11 counties in the Triad. While the veterans must be from the Triad area, Huber clarified that guardians can be from anywhere. The counties include Guilford, Forsyth, Alamance, Davidson, Randolph, Rockingham, Surry, Stokes, Davie, Yadkin, Montgomery and Caswell.
“They do not allow spouses to be the guardians, but in a lot of cases, they are children, grandchildren or volunteers from the community,” she said. “We expect that we’ll have veterans from WWII, Korea, Tweeners and Vietnam.”
In a typical day for the veterans in Washington, DC, Huber said they will visit a number of memorials, including the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, US Air Force Memorial, US Marine Corps War Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial; however, what they are able to see depends on the crowds.
Since the flight will be on Veterans Day this year, Huber said she is sad that they will not be able to stop to see the Women in Military Service for America Memorial or the Changing of the Guard.
“The following flight we may do that, but there are just too many people in DC for Veterans Day,” she said. “We need to be flexible and fluid with the pandemic. We have to keep the veterans safe because they are the most vulnerable.”
Huber said there will be an itinerary for the day, adding that they will also be laying a wreath at each of the memorials, along with a short ceremony.
“On the way home, the veterans will each get a package for mail call with letters from the community,” she said, inviting anyone from elementary students, NS DAR, local civic clubs and other groups to write letters or draw pictures for the veterans. “The veterans will be able to read these letters on the way home from the flight and there will be people to welcome them back when they get off of the plane.”
Huber said the flight itself holds 186 people. They anticipate having about 90 veterans with the rest of the flight being filled with EMTs and guardians.
As of right now, Huber said they do not have a date set for the 2022 Triad Honor Flight.
“We have to wait for the charters to open up to maybe set up a date for the spring or fall of next year,” she said. “Honestly, we will probably only do one flight a year until we can get into a flow of how the flights go and raise enough funds.”
Huber said they are having to start from scratch because their core volunteers are getting reestablished after 10 years and they are having to start raising funds all over again.
“We are working on corporate sponsors and Crumley Roberts Law came in as a gold sponsor, but we also have a lot of groups that are doing fundraising on our behalf,” she said. Anyone that wants to raise money to help the veterans and their own organization are welcome to do so by selling yard signs or holding other types of fundraisers. “The yard signs are a minimum of a $20 donation and they say, ‘Thank You Veteran.’ They have them at the Old Mill of Guilford, but we would like to have a location to sell them in Kernersville if there is a store that is willing to sell them.”
Some of the other fundraisers that have been held in their honor include a yard sale, a cycling event in Greensboro and a motorcycle rally that started at Double D’s and ended at Springers. On June 5 from 1 – 10 p.m., there is a benefit concert for the weekend of the anniversary of D Day. The event will include two bands, food trucks, dancing, raffles, 50/50 raffle and fireworks at Hide-Away at Crooked Creek, located at 5530 Linch Rd. in Whitsett. Tickets are $75/person. Tickets can be purchased by visiting, https://allevents.in/whitsett/triad-honor-flight-benefit/200020904060319.
“Every donation counts, whether it is $5 or more,” she said. “It’s a collective community effort and we are so grateful.”
To sign up for Triad Honor Flight, visit www.triadhonorflight, or if you do not have computer access, call Huber at 336-306-8710 and she will mail you an application. To be eligible for the flight, veterans and guardians must have an updated Real ID. The deadline for applicants is the end of the summer.
For more information, email Info@triadhonorflight.org. To make a donation, send checks payable to Triad Honor Flight, PO Box 16132, High Point, NC 27261. You can also pay with credit card online or pay with Venmo, @triad-honorflight.

Previous post:

Next post: