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Thirty-two veterans of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts are taking to the sky Sept. 29 after a two-year Covid hiatus as part of Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico’s (HFSNM) next journey to Washington, D.C. Among them are people from across the southern part of the state including Las Cruces, Truth or Consequences, Alamogordo, Mimbres, Silver City, El Paso and Socorro, Texas, according to Honor Flight team leader and videographer Elaine Prickett.
The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization honoring America’s WWII, Korean War and Vietnam veterans by transporting veterans, at no cost to them, to Washington, D.C., to reflect and be honored at their memorials.
When the veterans return Oct. 1, they will receive a police escort from the El Paso International Airport to Memorial Medical Center Conference area on the west side of the hospital. They should be arriving in Las Cruces around 7:45 p.m. when the bus should be exiting I-10 at University Boulevard to turn down Telshor Boulevard into the MMC parking lot.
“What we are really wanting is community with signs and flags greeting the bus from the University exit so these veterans know they are cared about,” Prickett said. “That’s how it was when the veterans came home from World War II. The Centennial High School Band and the Las Cruces Fire Department will be there to greet the bus at MMC.”
She said Honor Flight is always looking for veterans who want to participate from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The veterans travel free. Donations are always appreciated, Prickett said, even if just for a meal for a veteran.
Volunteers are important to the effort. Each veteran is assigned a guardian to accompany them. Guardians play a significant role on every Honor Flight, ensuring every veteran has a safe and memorable experience. Duties include, but are not limited to, physically assisting the veterans at the airport, during the flight and at the memorials.
Visit www.honorflightnm.org or call Diaz at 575-496-3907 to apply as a veteran, guardian or to donate.