If you would like to come out and be a part of this monumental occasion Call Charles Stallions at 850-324-5109 and I can easily arrange it. Our Veterans deserve so much more than they get for the sacrifices they made.
NEWS RELEASE Contact: Emerald Coast Honor Flight, 232-8191
For Immediate Release
For Immediate Release
Oct. 19, 2009
Emerald Coast Honor Flight Hosts 5th Trip to Escort 102WWII Veterans toWashington D.C. Trip funded in part by Pen Air Federal Credit Union
Emerald Coast Honor Flight Hosts 5th Trip
to Escort 102WWII Veterans toWashington D.C.
Trip funded in part by Pen Air Federal Credit Union
Pensacola, Florida, Oct. 19, 2009 -- One hundred and two WWII veterans from Florida's First
Congressional District are counting the hours in eager anticipation of the trip of a lifetime.
The fifth trip of Emerald Coast Honor Flight will depart from the Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional
Airport on Wednesday, October 21, taking a group of Northwest Florida's WWII veterans, now in
their 80s and 90s, on a journey to our nation's capital to see theWWII Memorial.
David Pierson, 88, is a former Army Air Corps pilot who served during the Second WorldWar in
the China Burma India Theater. "I'm looking forward to going toWashington," he said. Pierson is
planning on wearing his pilot's wings, proudly pinned to his shirt. "I earned my wings 65 years
ago," he explained. "Maybe if our Honor Flight pilot sees me wearing my wings, he'll let me fly
the plane for just a little while."
The guardians, who pay their own air fare to participate, feel an extraordinary sense of privilege
in escorting these men and women on this special journey. Dr. Angel Kelly-Shelby, who will
serve as guardian to three veterans, including David Pierson, is motivated by a sense of
patriotism and gratitude.
"What an honor it is for us as guardians to pay tribute to the legacy of these men and women,"
Kelly-Shelby said. "We will hear their stories, share their memories - and learn about WWII
through the eyes and ears of these veterans." Kelly-Shelby also feels that serving as a guardian is
a way to honor her own father, a medic who served duringWWII, as well as her two sons who
are both currently serving in the military.
Emerald Coast Honor Flight is a non-profit organization honoring America's veterans. Heroes
from Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Washington, and Holmes counties are flown to
Washington, D.C. to see the memorial built in their honor for their service to our country.
Over four hundred WWII veterans from Northwest Florida still remain on the waiting list for
future planned trips, pending the availability of donations to fund the flights. Seven of the
veterans originally selected for this flight have passed away while waiting for the trip, unable to
fulfill their dream of participating in this special journey.
The sense of urgency to take areaWWII veterans on an Honor Flight trip is greater now more
than ever. Based on recent statistics, WWII veterans are dying in the United States at the rate of
1,200 per day. Emerald Coast Honor Flight is committed to doing whatever it takes to fulfill the
dreams of our veterans, taking them on a journey designed to pay tribute to them for their
dedication, patriotism and service to our country.
Pen Air Federal Credit Union is the major sponsor for this fifth trip of Emerald Coast Honor
Flight, donating $25,000 to make it possible for this group of 102 veterans to see their
The creation of Emerald Coast Honor Flight was spearheaded by Congressman Jeff Miller (R,
Florida) and is staffed by a volunteer board of directors and funded through donations.
Donations from the public have made it possible for over four hundred WWII veterans from the
First Congressional District to participate so far in the journey to our nation's capital, and have
also funded the October 21 flight departing from Pensacola.
"The goal is to ensure that all living World War II veterans from the Florida panhandle get the
chance to see the memorial that was erected to honor their service and sacrifice," Miller stated.
"But the time to do this is right now. We are losing these heroes in great numbers. I know that
Northwest Florida will do everything possible to get our veterans toWashington."
The public is invited to welcome home theseWWII heroes as they return from their journey to
Washington D.C. on October 21 at 7 p.m. at the Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport. Everyone
is encouraged to arrive at the airport no later than 6 p.m. and be waiting at the airport with
American flags, homemade signs and patriotism to give these WWII veterans a "welcome home"
that they will always cherish and never forget.
Upon their return, eachWWII veteran will be presented with a commemorative Honor Flight gift
bag, proudly sponsored by the Cantonment Rotary Club, which is also providing American flags
for the welcome home celebration.
Parking fees will be waived for those participating in the "welcome home" celebration courtesy
of the Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport.
For more information about Emerald Coast Honor Flight, visit