Honor Flight Dayton widens recruiting net to bring in more Vietnam-era veterans

The Honor Flight Dayton organization is turning its focus to recruit more Vietnam-era veterans as program coordinators prepare for takeoff next spring, the program’s vice president said Friday.

But Honor Flight Dayton isn’t looking past the older veterans who served in Korea and in World War II, the vice president, Diana Pry, told News Center 7′s Brandon Lewis.

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“We treat them like kings and queens when they come with us on the day, it’s just a tremendous event,” Pry said.

It’s all about trying to pump up the wait list, which has dropped off in recent years to about 250 from more than 500.

“I feel very proud, one being a veteran, but proud that I’m a part of this organization and able to take them and give them an experience of a lifetime,” she said.

“World War II and Korea used to be the predominant amount of our numbers, she said. “Our World War II vets are 95 to 100 years old; There’s not that many left.”

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The ages of those era vets is why the focused recruiting for 2023 and going forward will be on those who were in Vietnam as well as World War II and Korea.

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“We do that by Veterans Day assemblies, going to VFWS, American Legions to try to get the word out to get them signed up to go,” Pry said.

All veterans have to do to become eligible for the flights chartered by American Airlines is to have been on active duty status during those three periods of U.S. military involvement. The Honor Flight Dayton experience includes transportation, meals, T-shirts, cameras and more during visits to national memorials in Washington, D.C., and Virginia that honor those who fought.

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Pry said the wider focus of her recruiting efforts is to make veterans feel appreciated and get the welcome home some have never received.

“To see the look, the look on their face to see all the different people coming up to them and saying thank you, it’s just priceless,” she said.

If you’re a veteran interested in participating, here’s a link to Honor Flight Dayton’s website that will take you to the application.