World War II vets honored with DC visit

Honor Flight veterans at the World War II Memorial.

Honor Flight veterans at the World War II Memorial.

Sally Davis special to the Times
Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 10:53 AM.

Don MacLean of Carrabelle and Mary Britz of Lanark Village experienced the trip of a lifetime when Honor Flight of Tallahassee flew them to Washington DC for a day to visit the World War II Memorial.

The Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization created solely to honor America 's veterans for all their sacrifices, transports veterans to Washington , D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to World War II survivors, along with other veterans who may be terminally ill. The inaugural Honor Flight Tour took place in May of 2005. Six small planes flew out of Springfield , Ohio taking twelve World War II veterans on a visit to the memorial in Washington , DC . The Honor Flight Network program was conceived by Earl Morse, a physician assistant and Retired Air Force Captain employed by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Britz and MacLean, both World War II veterans, were part of a group of 77 vets who went to Washington April 26. Each was accompanied by a guardian. A doctor, seven emergency technicians and two nurses traveled with them on a Boeing 757 provided by Miami Air.

While the veterans travel free, the guardians and medical staff pay for their own flight.

Because Honor Flight trips start early, Britz and MacLean decided to spend the night of April 25 in Tallahassee . They stayed at Homewood Suites on Apalachee Parkway . Preston Scott on WFLA-FM announced during a broadcast that they were looking for accommodations. J. H. Leale, president of Ricky Carmichael Racing was one of about 20 people who offered to pay for their rooms. He made the reservations but, when hotel General Manager Ashley Schneider found out who the rooms were for, she refused payment.

Meals were also donated for the happy travelers.

MacLean said the day began at 5 a.m. when the party gathered for breakfast at the “millionaire hanger” at Tallahassee Airport .

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