By Barbara Augsdorfer, Editor for the Effingham Herald
Area military veterans are going to Washington, DC the weekend of May 5-7 to see their various memorials – all free, courtesy of Honor Flight Savannah, Inc. Among the group of 25 veterans and 25 guardians are four Effingham County residents: Sgt. Thomas Edmonds, Guyton; Staff Sgt. Donnie Martin, Rincon; and Sgt. Walter Hodges, Springfield, who all served in the army; and Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Odell Olsen, Rincon. All four are Vietnam War veterans.
Honor Flight Savannah Inc. is part of the Honor Flight Network which has escorted nearly 250,000 WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans to Washington, DC, since the organization’s founding in 2004. All costs for the veterans – transportation, lodging, and food – is covered by donations. There is no cost to the veterans.
According to Jerry Maennche of Honor Flight Savannah, the group will leave by motor coach from Marine Air Corps Station, Beaufort, SC, May 5, and visit at least nine sites in Washington, DC, all day on May 6: the WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Women in Military Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, Air Force Memorial, U.S. Navy Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Disabled Veterans’ Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
The group will participate in the wreath-laying ceremony during a changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The group will return to Beaufort on May 7.
Honor Flight Savannah is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and schedules these trips each year in May and September. Maennche says they are always looking for corporate or individual monetary support to transport veterans on these trips. Donations can be made on the group’s website at www.honorflightsavannah.org (hover over “More” and click on “Donate”) or by calling 912-663-0322.