VIDEO TRIBUTE: Honor Flight Salutes the Spirit, Courage of the Greatest Generation
By Maria Sonnenberg, Space Coast Medicine & Active Living // October 3, 2017
CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN AWARDS
ABOVE VIDEO: Space Coast Honor Flights SALUTES 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Recognizing Outstanding Individuals & Organizations Who Dedicate Their Time, Talent and Treasure
CENTRAL FLORIDA, USA – The 2017 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. Information about the hospital and hospice volunteers will be released Oct. 7.
The Central Florida Humanitarian honorees will be recognized during a Gala event on Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created eight years ago by 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.
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 2017 honorees will be featured in the Oct/Nov 2017 edition of Space Coast Daily magazine and online at SpaceCoastDaily.com. The magazine will be available the first week of October in both print and digital editions, which will also be available on SpaceCoastDaily.com.
For the eighth consecutive year, 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.
ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS SELECTED TO BE HONORED INCLUDE:
• BCSO Animal Services
• BCSO Honor Guard
• Brevard Guardian Ad Litem
• Brevard C.A.R.E.S
• Driven by Heart (formerly Breast Friends)
• Genesis House
• Health First Foundation
• Space Coast Harley-Davidson
• Tess Brady and OASIS
• Total Home Roofing
• Rosette Brown
• Randy Coleman
• Bill Ellis
• Bjornar and Bjorg Hermansen
• Eugene Johnson
• Adrian Lafitte
• Dr. Romain Onteniente
• Valerie Paul
• Joan Thron
• Robin Whiting
• Steve Wilson
• The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement honoree is Judge Dean Moxley.
HONORING SELFLESS VOLUNTEERISM
“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 Space Coast Daily Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.
“For the eight consecutive year, we will once again produce the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala on the first Thursday of November. This year, more than 30 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala.”
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will be part of “Space Coast Health Week,” a comprehensive series of health and educational events produced by Space Coast Daily.
JOIN US FOR AN INSPIRATIONAL EVENING
This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by Florida Tech, Health First, SOAR, BioCellular Therapies, First Choice Medical Group, Clear Choice Health Care, Brevard Geriatrics, Dr. Mark Pinsky, Rock Paper Simple, Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, Friday Night Locker Room, Safari Mail House, Space Coast Daily magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com. Each honoree or organization will be presented the Central Florida Humanitarian Crystal Globe.
“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 Space Coast Daily and Brevard Productions, who annually produce all the events of Space Coast Medicine Week.
COMPELLING MULTIMEDIA TRIBUTE VIDEOS & STORIES
Stay tuned to Space Coast Daily magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com for exclusive and comprehensive multimedia coverage of each honoree as we present their compelling stories.
“Please join us on Thursday, Nov. 2 to celebrate and be inspired by these incredible individuals and groups,” said Space Coast Daily 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 Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com
ABOVE MAP: The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will take place Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, located at 200 Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.