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Latest Honor Flight sends local WWII vets to nation's capital

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO: HOLLY GILL - Henry Nelsen, 88, left, and Herman Hansen, 87, both from Madras, were among 50 World War II veterans who participated in a 2014 Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. Tom Brown of Madras, who paid his own way on the trip, was the team leader for a group of nine veterans who visited the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
Nearly two dozen World War II veterans take off Friday for a whirlwind tour of Washington, D.C., memorials as part of the 19th Honor Flight of Oregon.

Veterans will be in the nation’s capital from Friday to Sunday, May 1. They will visit memorials dedicated to World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the U.S. Marine Corps (Iwo Jima), U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. The group also will visit the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.

“These veterans travel at no cost because supporters who have donated funds want to show their appreciation to our veterans who gave so much to their country to preserve and protect America's freedoms,” said Gail Yakopatz, chairwoman of Honor Flight of Oregon. “If Americans thought it was important enough to build these memorials, Honor Flight wants to ensure the veterans to whom the memorials are dedicated actually get to visit them.”

Among those on Friday’s flight will be WWII veterans Charles Brown and Ray Snook of Oregon City; Dick Harriman of Newberg; Jeanne Heuett of Canby; John Reeves of Clackamas; and Miki Tamiyasu and Buddy Walker of Lake Oswego.

Honor Flight of Oregon is one of 130 regional hubs in 44 states participating in the national program honoring World War II veterans by taking them to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials. The Grants Pass nonprofit organization serves veterans in 10 counties west of the Cascade Mountains. It’s one of five Honor Flight groups in Oregon. Others cover Portland, the Southern Willamette Valley and Central Oregon.

Since 2005, about 160,000 veterans nationwide have participated in the honor flight program. Honor Flight of Oregon has escorted 440 veterans to the nation’s capital. Nearly 1,300 veterans have been part of the honor flights from Oregon.