Space Coast Honor Flight Takes Brevard’s War Veterans To Washington D.C.

By  //  October 22, 2015

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45th Space Wing honors war veterans

ABOVE VIDEO: Space Coast Honor Flights honor that spirit and the courage that accompanies it. The program was created in appreciation of the unassuming heroes who made incredible sacrifices in order to ensure America’s freedom.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Members of the 45th Space Wing and its mission partners, Junior Enlisted Officer Corp cadets, and other supporters of local military veterans gathered at Wickham Senior Center in Melbourne at 2:30 a.m. to honor World War II, Vietnam and Korean War veterans Oct. 17.

The Space Coast Honor Flight sends veterans on a one-day trip to Washington, D.C., to visit their war memorials.

Space Coast Honor Flight has taken 825 veterans on 32 flights, including 175 this year, and has one more flight to go.

It has plans for a similar number of flights next year between March and October.

This flight included 16 World War II, six Korean War, and three Vietnam War veterans. Among the WWII veterans were three women.

2014 CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION

Members of the 45th Space Wing and its mission partners, Junior Enlisted Officer Corp cadets, and other supporters of local military veterans gathered at Wickham Senior Center in Melbourne, Fla., at 2:30 a.m. to honor World War II, Vietnam and Korean War veterans Oct. 17. (patrick.af.mil image)

Members of the 45th Space Wing and its mission partners, Junior Enlisted Officer Corp cadets, and other supporters of local military veterans gathered at Wickham Senior Center in Melbourne, Fla., at 2:30 a.m. to honor World War II, Vietnam and Korean War veterans Oct. 17. (patrick.af.mil image)

HONOR FLIGHTS: Honors the Spirit, Courage of the Greatest Generation, Space Coast Chapter Headed By Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. William Welser

CENTRAL FLORIDA, USA – Many of them no longer walk well, those members of the Greatest Generation who can still walk at all. The passage of years have slowed them down and added the infirmities of old age to their bodies, but their spirits remain indomitable.

HONOR-FLIGHT-580-1Space Coast Honor Flights honor that spirit and the courage that accompanies it. The program was created in appreciation of the unassuming heroes who made incredible sacrifices in order to ensure America’s freedom.

The all-volunteer nonprofit provides trips to Washington, DC, free of charge to veterans who served in World War II, Korea or in between those wars.

Vets are paired with volunteer guardian escorts who help them with wheelchairs during the one-day whirlwind tour of the military monuments.

The trip from Melbourne to the Nation’s Capital makes for a long – but unforgettable – day for the vets, who gather together at around 3 a.m. at the Wickham Park Senior Center, where a bus picks them up for the trip to Orlando and a waiting crowd that cheers their arrival.

At Baltimore-Washington International Airport, another crowd welcomes with applause before a bus whisks the vets on the emotional visit to their monuments.

Everywhere they go that day, they are treated like rock stars.

Honor Flight volunteers realize time is of the essence, because according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 veterans of World War II die each day.

The program was conceived by physician, pilot and retired Air Force Captain Earl Morse, who wanted to honor the veterans he had taken care of for almost three decades.

CHAPTER LEAD BY RETIRED AIR FORCE LT. GEN. WILLIAM WELSER

Many of the vets Morse treated expressed a desire to see the World War II memorial in Washington, DC, but they also admitted they lacked the physical wherewithal to complete the trip on their own and that their families did not have the financial resources to accompany them.

Under Lt. Gen. Welser’s leadership, Space Coast Honor Flight has grown from three flights per year to seven. Honor Flight is a family affair for Welser and his wife, Susan, who serves as the group’s veteran coordinator.

Under Lt. Gen. William Welser’s leadership, Space Coast Honor Flight has grown from three flights per year to seven. Honor Flight is a family affair for Welser and his wife, Susan, who serves as the group’s veteran coordinator.

Morse began organizing flights on his own out of his Ohio base.

Soon other pilots joined in. Currently, Honor Flight has 127 chapters in 41 states and has honored more than 100,000 veterans with the flight of a lifetime.

The local chapter is headed by retired Air Force Lt. Gen. William Welser, who is also chairman of the board of Habitat for Humanity.

The need for the program was apparent when Welser saw the reaction his father and father-in-law both had when visiting the Washington military monuments during a family vacation.

He signed up to become an Honor Flight guardian and has participated in more than 20 trips.

Susan Welser

Susan Welser

Under Welser’s leadership, Space Coast Honor Flight has grown from three flights per year to seven. Honor Flight is a family affair for Welser and his wife, Susan, who serves as the group’s veteran coordinator.

The local chapter has been used as a model by other Honor Flight programs in Central Florida.

The veterans’ trip costs are made possible by donations and fundraising events. Guardians are asked to pay for their own airfare and to commit to a long day escorting the vets. For them, it is well worth it.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN ALUMNI

ABOUT THE 2015 CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN AWARDS

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The 2015 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities. Also announced today was the honoree for the Lifetime Achievement.

Recognizing Outstanding Individuals & Organizations Who Dedicate Their Time, Talent and Treasure

The 2015 Central Florida Humanitarians include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities. 

The Central Florida Humanitarian honorees will be recognized during a Gala event on Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.

The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created six years ago by Maverick Multimedia, publisher of Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and Space Coast Daily, to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their time, talent or treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.

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The 2015 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities. All Humanitarian alumni are presented a specially commissioned medallion.

TIME: In this category consider candidates who have selflessly and consistently devoted their time as volunteers at hospitals and nursing homes, in activities for the less fortunate and as organizers, administrators or operatives in the many other altruistic endeavors in our community.
TALENT: In this category give consideration to those who have volunteered their special talents and expertise to address specific circumstances in which the lives of those in need are improved.
TREASURE: The humanitarians in this category will include those who have generously shared their monetary good fortune and/or volunteered their time and efforts in fund raising for the advancement of a philanthropic cause.

All 2015 honorees will be featured in the Oct/Nov 2015 edition of Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com.

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2015 Central Florida Humanitarian Sponsors

The first Gala was held in 2010 and is produced by Brevard Productions.

ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS SELECTED TO BE HONORED INCLUDE:

• Brevard Family Partnership
• Brevard Neighborhood Coalition
• Brevard Special Olympics – Debbie Spence
• Lila Buescher
• Canine Companions for Independence
• Childrens Hunger Project
• Circles of Care
• Ginger Davis
• Cove Merchants Association
• Dr. Brian Dowdell
• Early Learning Coalition of Brevard
• Betsy Farmer
• Darcia Jones-Francey
• Harris Corp. Foundation
• Malak Hammad
• John & Cynthia Handley
• John Harper
• Mike & Stephanie Haridopolos
• Sheriff Wayne Ivey
• Robert Jordan
• Dr. John Lovejoy Jr. & Dr. John Lovejoy III
• Victor Luebker
• Rita Pritchett
• David Schmitt
• Oscar & Turney Sieveking
• The 2015 Central Florida Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement honoree is Dr. Anthony Catanese.

HONORING SELFLESS VOLUNTEERISM

As always, the Central Florida Humanitarian committee will also honor hospital and hospice volunteers from Health First Hospice, the Dr. Jey Pillai Center for Hospice Care at Wasdin Woods, VITAS, Hospice of St. Francis, Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital, Health First Viera Hospital, Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center, Health First Palm Bay Hospital, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Melbourne, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Rockledge, the VA Clinic in Viera, and Sebastian River Medical Center. 

Dr. Jim Palermo

Dr. Jim Palermo

“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Maverick Multimedia Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.

“For the sixth consecutive year, we will once again produce the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala on the first Thursday of November. This year, more than 42 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala.”

The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will be part of Space Coast Medicine Week, a comprehensive series of health and educational events produced by Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and Space Coast Daily.

JOIN US FOR AN INSPIRATIONAL EVENING

This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by M.H. Williams Construction, Parrish Medical Center, SOAR, Brighthouse Networks, Wuesthoff Health System, First Choice Medical Group, Clear Choice Health Care, Florida Pain Institute, Brevard Geriatrics, Knudson Brain & Spine Law Injury Office, Dr. Mark Pinsky, Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com. Each honoree or organization will be presented the Central Florida Humanitarian Crystal Globe.

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Giles Malone

“We would like to thank our long list of sponsors who support the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards and who make this wonderful event possible,” said Giles Malone, a partner with Maverick Multimedia and Brevard Productions, who annually produce all the events of Space Coast Medicine Week.

COMPELLING MULTIMEDIA TRIBUTE VIDEOS & STORIES

Stay tuned to SpaceCoastDaily.com and Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine for exclusive and comprehensive multimedia coverage of each honoree as we present their compelling stories.

Tom Palermo

Tom Palermo

“Please join us on Thursday, Nov. 5 to celebrate and be inspired by these incredible individuals and groups,” said Maverick Multimedia President & Publisher Tom Palermo. 

“In the meantime, please click the link below that showcases the distinguished Central Florida Humanitarian Alumni.”

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN ALUMNI

FOR MORE INFORMATION or to make a reservation to attend the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-323-4460 or 321-615-8111 or e-mail MaverickMultiMedia@gmail.com

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS

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ABOVE MAP: The 2015 Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will take place Thursday, Nov. 5 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, located at 200 Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.


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