Tyson, Walmart sponsor WWII vets visit to D.C.
August 13, 2010
SPRINGDALE, Ark. – On Saturday, Sept. 18, more than 80 World War II veterans will visit memorials dedicated in their honor during a trip to Washington, D.C., as part of the second Northwest Arkansas Honor Flight. Thanks to major donations from Tyson Foods Inc. and the Walmart Foundation, and contributions from others, a commercial jet has been chartered to fly the veterans free of charge from Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport to Washington D.C. and back.
Approximately 50 volunteer guardians and some medical personnel will also be on the flight.
This year’s veterans, which include four women who served in the military during World War II, range in age from 88 to 98. The group will see the World War II Memorial, as well as other military memorials, during their day in the nation’s capital.
“We’re proud to continue our support of Honor Flight, which is another way we can say ‘thanks’ to those who served our country during the war,” said Bill McKenzie, director of Tyson Aviation, who is the coordinator for the Northwest Arkansas hub of Honor Flight. “The response from veterans and their families to last year’s first Honor Flight was so positive we immediately started making plans for this year’s trip.”
“The men and women who serve our country are our nation’s heroes," said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “Walmart is proud to support the Honor Flight and other programs that help our veterans.”
Saturday’s Honor Flight is scheduled to leave XNA at 8 a.m. and return at about 8 p.m. Flight organizers encourage the public to come the airport terminal Saturday evening to be part of a return reception for the veterans.
Donations are still being accepted to cover remaining expenses for the flight, as well as help cover the cost of another flight the organization hopes to schedule next year. Tyson and the Walmart Foundation have each donated $25,000, which will cover most of the $65,000 expense for the trip.
Starting five years ago in Ohio, Honor Flight Network was a national non-profit organization that had six small planes that took a dozen World War II veterans to see the memorial. Today, there are more than 70 hubs in 34 states and the organization’s mission is to “transport America's veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.”