Next hero flight looking for veterans

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) Calling all veterans of the World War II, Korea and Vietnam eras, the Hall County Veterans Service office is getting ready for their next hero flight.. Their goal to give all veterans a trip to Washington, D.C.

This year's flight is planned for October 7, 8 and 9, but vets office officials want people to sign up now. The trip is not just limited to those living in Hall County.

"We do expand," said Don Shuda, service office at the veteran's office. "On our last flight that we had last year, we took veterans from 13 different counties. So we encourage anyone from the area that wants to apply. Now, if a veteran is from a county other than Hall County, we would ask that county to sponsor their veteran though."

Before moving on to the next generation of veterans, officials are still looking to make sure anyone from the World War II, Korea and Vietnam eras that want to make the trip, have done so.

"We want to make sure we don't miss a veteran," said Shuda. "They've earned this right to be recognized, they deserve it. They served our country so we want to make sure we include any and all veterans from those three war periods."

While seeing the monuments and other sights is a fun activity, there can be more at play here for veterans.

"Absolutely. We've had many veterans come back and say, 'you know, this has just closed a chapter in my life. It's let me just relax and realize'," said Shuda, "Especially the Vietnam vets that came home and sometimes were not recognized, it just gives them a peace of mind to say we were appreciated."

It's a three-day chartered trip that Hall County veterans get to take for free, thanks in part to fund raising throughout the year.

"Well, we claim hamburgers", said Shuda. "We do a hamburger feed every fourth Wednesday of the month, and it's $5 at a time. Of course, we have larger donors. But, five dollars at a time hamburger feeds".

Another highlight of the Hall County flights is the return to Grand Island. Each year people have waited at the airport for the flight to return. So they can give them one final hero's welcome to top of their trip.