We enjoy our freedoms every day, but how can we honor the bravery of the veterans who have fought to make this possible? The Central Valley Honor Flight works to give back to these soldiers.

The Central Valley Honor Flight is part of the Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization honoring American veterans for their sacrifices. Veterans are transported on Honor Flights to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at the memorials of the wars they valiantly served in. The Central Valley Honor Flight was established in May 2013, and this all-volunteer group is dedicated to honoring local World War II and Korean War veterans.

Since its inception, there have been 12 Central Valley Honor Flights sending nearly 800 veterans and their travel guardians to Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Among the many places Honor Flight veterans have the opportunity to visit are the U.S. Marine Memorial (Iwo Jima), the World War II Memorial, and the Arlington National Cemetery. Upon arriving at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Honor Flight veterans are honored with a Changing of the Guard ceremony.

Central Valley Honor Flight veterans have remarked on how powerful and memorable the experience was. John F. Clarke, a World War II veteran who flew on one of the very first Honor Flights in October of 2013, said the Honor Flight, “was the greatest show of appreciation I received for my service to my country during that historic war.” Leonard Heinrichs, another veteran of World War II, said, “[The Honor Flight] made me feel extremely important, beyond what I can express in words.”

The next Central Valley Honor Flight is Monday, April 24, 2017 and will be returning Wednesday, April 26, 2017. The flight will be departing from Fresno Yosemite International Airport; check-in for veterans, guardians, and media is between 5:30 AM and 6:15 AM. A welcome program will follow immediately after, and the flight will be departing at 8:15 AM.

Want to help make this experience truly unforgettable? Come welcome the veterans home on the 26th! The Honor Flight will be returning on Wednesday, April 26, at 6:00 PM at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Veterans and Guardians interested in applying for an Honor Flight can download the applications on the Central Valley Honor Flight website.

If you would like to contribute toward sending a local veteran on an Honor Flight, donations can be made via mail or PayPal. Click here for more information on how to donate!

The Central Valley Community Foundation is proud to sponsor the Central Valley Honor Flight Fund for the benefit of our local veterans.