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Farmers RECC Sponsors Local Veterans for Honor Flight

Bobby Bradley of Cave City and Tom Smith of Munfordville are among the war veterans traveling from Lexington to Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Sept. 22, as part of this year’s Honor Flight. Bradley and Smith will join other Kentucky veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War for a one-day tour of memorials that are dedicated to their service and sacrifices.

 

Bradley and Smith, both Vietnam veterans, will represent Farmers RECC, which is sponsoring the all-expense paid trip.

 

“It’s an honor for us to sponsor both Bobby and Tom and the other heroes from Kentucky,” said Bill Prather, Farmers RECC President and CEO. “This trip is a small thanks for their big sacrifices. We owe them so much for the freedoms we enjoy.”

 

This is the eighth year Farmers RECC and Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have sponsored Honor Flight.

 

Around 6,400 WWII veterans, most in their late 80s and 90s, call Kentucky home. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 362 WWII vets die each day, which makes every Honor Flight a race against time.

 

“We want our veterans to have the opportunity to see the memorials erected in their honor, while they still can,” said Prather. Honor Flight Kentucky is actively recruiting Kentucky veterans, especially those with birthdays in the 1920s, to make the trip.

 

Sixty-nine veterans are set to make this year’s trip. The veterans will fly from Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., where they will board buses for a full day of honors and sightseeing.

The day includes viewing the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Honor Flight representatives will participate in a wreath-laying service at the tomb.

 

Capping off the day is a homecoming celebration to further honor the veterans. It is a highlight of the day, say some former Honor Flight participants.

 

“They treated us like kings,” said Albert Antle, of Jamestown, a WWII veteran who experienced no fanfare when he returned home from that war.

 

“That place just roared,” Korean War veteran Alfred Ahrens, of Paris, recalled about the enthusiastic greeting Honor Flight participants received. “It was the best welcome home I ever had.”

 

Farmers RECC is inviting families, friends and supporters to gather at Blue Grass Airport by 8 p.m. EST on Sept. 22 to greet the veterans when their flight arrives from Washington. There will be additional parking available at the airport to accommodate the crowd.

 

“Come help us make this one of the best days ever for these American heroes,” urged Prather.

 

For more information, contact Caralyne Pennington at 270-651-2191.

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