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BRIEF: Honor Flight returns post-hiatus


US veterans distinguished in annual Honor Flight

[/media-credit] The 21st annual Honor Flight launched May 18, 2022.

The 21st annual Central Valley Honor Flight finally takes off after a two year hiatus due to COVID-19. Friends and family members gather at the Fresno International Airport to welcome home the returning vets, May 18.

65 veterans, ranging from ages 67 to 100 boarded the plane in anticipation of the lng awaited experience. Each served in one of five military branches from 1942 to 1988. The veterans participated in WWII, the Cold War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War

Local sports broadcaster and founder of the CV Honor Flight, Paul Loeffler, details the difficulties of gathering all Honor Flight members for the event.

“It took keeping in contact with veterans and their families,” Loeffler said. “Many hours for our medical team to evaluate veterans and make sure it would be safe, and the cooperation of all the people and organizations who make Honor Flight successful.”

Loeffler says previous plans were made, but an unfortunate turn of events changed everything. 

“We had a flight all geared up and ready to go in April 2020, and those veterans have been waiting through the pandemic,” Loeffler said. “We had 25 veterans pass away over the course of that time, and are honoring them in a special way on this flight.”

[/media-credit] 65 total veterans from all branches of service participated in this year’s Honor Flight.

Vietnam veteran, Dilgan Row, bus captain of the Flight, has participated in many previous Honor Flights. He describes how he feels about this homecoming, as well as the one he received after the war. 

“Which one did I like better? This one of course! I wasn’t given a homecoming from the war, people threw things at me,” Row said. “They swore at us, and they threw stuff at us when I got off the airplane in San Francisco in 1972. America was different then, it’s different now.”

Row continued on to acknowledge the trauma his brothers in arms went through, understanding this event to be a healing experience.

“Especially for my Vietnam brothers, this welcoming, I think, is a healing process that is putting their time of service in a right framework,” Row said. “America has moved from the time they confused the hatred of the war with the hatred of the veterans. I think it’s a great opportunity for everyone and veterans.”

If you or someone you know is looking to volunteer at the next Honor Flight, visit and apply here.

For more articles, read Feather staff steps into editor roles or Photo reflections from, Taylor Beckworth.

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