August 26, 2016 – "The land of the free, because of the brave." It's a sentiment we've all heard. World War II veterans like 96-year-old Ken Powell, of Lexington, who received five medals for heroic actions, is one of the brave. Ninety-two-year-old World War II veteran Nello Francis, of Garrett, saw the flag raising atop Iwo Jima and earned medals for his service. He's one of the brave.
Forty three veterans from across the Commonwealth with stories of bravery will fly to Washington, D.C., on Aug. 27 to see memorials dedicated to them - free of charge - thanks to a sponsorship by Kentucky's Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.
"More than 1,200 people are expected to attend the 'Welcome Home Celebration' for these heroes," said Joe Settles of Kentucky's Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. "We are humbled to play a role in the flight and the homecoming for these World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans."
Those interested in attending the "Welcome Home Celebration" are asked to arrive by 9 p.m. at the Blue Grass Airport. Shuttles will be available for overflow parking that evening.
This flight will be the first for the newly-formed Honor Flight Kentucky hub. The Honor Flight Network is comprised of more than 130 non-profit charitable chapters located in 42 states. Veterans who participate will enjoy an all-expenses-paid trip to visit the memorials.
"We have one mission – to send as many of these brave heroes to see the memorials that are dedicated to their service and sacrifices," Honor Flight Kentucky Board Member George Campbell said. "Many of the veterans say it's one of the best days of their lives."
Veterans, who are accompanied by a Guardian, will visit the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, the Air Force Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Arlington National Cemetery. For more information, visit www.honorflightky.org.