August 2015 Update
I want to thank all those who have been actively seeking Veterans to apply with us. We are averaging 3 applications per week and about 6 calls regarding how to apply, etc. That is awesome! I thought I would take a moment to explain our process for seating a flight.
When we receive a WW II Veteran’s application (starting now and going forward), they will receive a postcard from us that tells them that we have processed their application, we have it on file, and they have been added to our waiting list for a future flight. Right now it is running close to a year from the time an application is received, until we have a seat available.
Once we confirm a flight, we go to our waiting list and grab the names in order that they were received, and have our Medical Review Team look over the applications to see if we can safely and comfortably meet the Veteran’s specific needs either medically or mobility. Once a batch of applications have been reviewed, we begin making phone calls and have a pre-flight interview with each Veteran. It is also at this time that we look to see if a specific Guardian has been requested. PLEASE NOTE: Once we begin calling, we freeze our Guardian list and cannot add new Guardians. We must already have their application on file in order for them to be considered. It becomes a numbers game (Veterans seats, Guardians seats, media, Board members) for filling the plane, and determining the buses we will need in D.C.
Once a Veteran agrees to fly he or she will be sent a packet of forms and information in the mail. This packet includes information on housing accommodations options, updated medical information, and a consent form as well as a check list. All forms are to be returned to us.
Guardians usually are notified about two weeks after the Veterans calls are completed. Guardian notification and updates are sent via email. Once we know which Veterans are flying, we can determine how many Guardians we will need and the criteria needed for each individual Veteran. Some criteria may be location, prior or current medical training, or former military.
We have three sets of Guardians that we utilize for any given flight: one-on-one pairings; double-teamed; and Administrative. Administrative Guardians have flown with us before and we are confident that they can also carry out some of the duties of our staff if necessary. You may be notified to serve in any one of these capacities. Double-teamed Guardians mean that two Guardians will accompany one Veteran for various reasons and purposes. Sometimes a family member is not comfortable caring for the medical needs of their relative, and so we may consider asking another Guardian with medical training to be the other Guardian to help observe the Veteran’s physical condition throughout. This gives the family member Guardian a sense of relief knowing someone else is also looking out for their Veteran.
We also have 10-12 “Stand By” Guardians selected for each flight. These Guardians agree to be at the airport on the day of the flight, ready to come onboard at the last minute. Often a Stand By Guardian is notified well in advance of a flight that we have a seat and a Veteran for them. By the time flight day comes, we will have re-seated 1/3 of the plane. It’s just how things happen. In the past three flights, all of our Stand By Guardians flew, except one.
I hope this gives you a better understanding of part of the process for planning and implementing a flight with our Hub.
Just a couple of notes: We will also consider taking any terminally-ill Veteran that we have knowledge of, providing they meet our criteria, and we can adequately take care of them.
If you are a Korean Veteran, and have applied with us, please know that we want to get you flying just as soon as we finish with our WW II Veterans!!
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FROM: TRICIA DONEGAN, HUB DIRECTOR
Mid-Michigan Honor Flight Announces a second 2015 Fall Flight
Mecosta, MI. Mid-Michigan Honor Flight is announcing plans for a fall flight, out of Traverse City, on October 13, 2015. “We have worked so hard to make sure we had a second flight this flying season. Our World War II Veterans on our waiting list don’t have the luxury of time to wait until next year,” commented Tricia Donegan, Hub Director for the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight hub.
Realizing that the average age of those on the waiting list is well into their 90s, it was the hub’s focus to find the funding for another flight in 2015. In June 2015 Mid-Michigan Honor Flight was able to take 62 deserving Veterans to Washington, D.C. for a free “Tour of Honor”, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It gave America the opportunity the say thank you to those Greatest Generation heroes who sacrificed so much, and served their country. Diane Diehm, Vice President said, “Every time we fly it feels like these Veterans are getting a hug from America. They belong to America. And Americans come out in a big way, to say thank you.”
“It takes many, many hands to plan and implement a Tour of Honor. We have had such an outpouring of groups wishing to assist us, and we so appreciate their time and efforts,” stated Donegan. “The Blue Star Mothers organizations in DeWitt, Meceola and Ionia-Kent-Montclam have been our ‘go to’ people to help with registration, Meet & Greet and the Welcome Home. They are such an awesome group of women to work with. We support their work, and they support ours.”
Mid-Michigan Honor Flight is accepting applications for World War II Veterans, Korean Veterans and any terminally ill Veteran. Their concentration is on getting World War II Veterans flying as soon as they can. “In 3 or 4 years there won’t be any World War II Veterans left. It’s just a fact. That’s why we have to do this, that’s why we want to do this,” stated Arlene Anderson-Vincent, a new Director on the Board. “We genuinely care about these men and women and take our responsibilities seriously. When their families entrust us with their care and comfort, we will do everything we can to make this a special day.” Anderson-Vincent has flown twice now with the Hub, once as a Guardian and once as a staff member and she knows firsthand the impact this day makes for both Guardians and the Veterans they escort.
On June 27, 2015, Mid-Michigan Honor Flight will be participating in the Warrior Appreciation Day in Frankenmuth, MI. This is a free event held from 12 noon to 5 PM, rain or shine, at the Independence Village Grounds (255 Mayer Rd.). There will be food, music, entertainment and activities for a all ages. Plus door prizes and giveaways. Stop by our display.
On July 12, 2015, Buffalo Wild Wings is hosting a fundraiser with proceeds to Mid-Michigan Honor Flight. Participating restaurants include all locations in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Big Rapids, Mt. Pleasant and Lansing. You must present a flyer at the time of your order for the proceeds to go to Mid-Michigan Honor Flight. Flyers are available from Mid-Michigan Honor Flight’s Facebook page, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 231.803-4255.
For more information on how you can help, please call 231.803-4255. Or, visit their website at www.midmichiganhonorflight.com or Facebook page. Donations may be made payable to, and mailed to: Mid-Michigan Honor Flight, P. O. Box 385, Mecosta, MI 49332.
“It’s never too late to thank a Veteran.”